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Category Archives: Lawn Diseases and Fungus

Well-established and maintained lawns are quite resilient. But even the best-kept lawn is vulnerable to disease. Learn to recognize and prevent lawn diseases.

Maryland Lawn Diseases

Disease pathogens are present in most lawns and can be triggered when lawns are stressed and weather conditions are right. Typically in warm, humid weather. Prevention is the best strategy for managing lawn diseases. Proper mowing, fertilization, improving poor drainage and increasing air circulation will help fend off serious problems. Fungicides can be applied preventively but will not ‘cure’ the disease. They suppress the symptoms so the disease does not damage the lawn.  Cooler temperatures often help lawns recover from disease naturally.  If by the fall the grass has not recovered the dead areas should be reseeded. Red thread and brown patch lawn disease are the two main diseases affecting Maryland lawns

Red Thread

Red Thread in a lawn.

 Close-up of Red Thread

Red thread disease is a turf disease that likes cool, wet spring weather. It likes temperatures in the 60’s and low 70’s with high humidity and in soils with high moisture content. It is an interesting lawn disease because of the red fungal mycelium (strands) that are visible to the naked eye.

The disease develops in circular or irregular patches from 4 inches to 2 feet in diameter. Affected leaves within these patches are tan or bleached-white in color. From a distance, the patches usually have that reddish appearance, due to the presence of thick, red strands of fungal growth emanating from the affected leaves. It is through the production of these “red threads” that the fungus spreads to healthy plants and survives unfavorable conditions.  After prolonged periods of disease development, the patches may merge to produce large irregularly shaped areas of damaged turf.

Soils that have little or no topsoil and organic matter and don’t hold nutrients are susceptible to Red Thread and Pink Patch as well. Generally, only in the worst cases of these two lawn diseases is it necessary to spray fungicides. There would need to be a prolonged period of cool weather to necessitate control products. A few hot, dry days usually will eliminate the symptoms.  Here is a fact sheet from the University of Maryland that explains the disease in more detail – http://hgic.umd.edu/content/documents/TT-24.pdf 

Brown Patch Lawn Disease

Brown Patch lawn disease occurs in Maryland during warm, humid weather. The combination of daytime temperatures that are over 85°F and nighttime temperatures that stay above 65° F with little air flow leaving the grass moist for over eight hours is the perfect condition for this turf disease. You can identify Brown Patch by its symptoms. Light tan lesions with dark brown edges across the middle or tips of the grass blades are signs you might have Brown Patch. On mornings with abundant dew, you will actually be able to see the signs of the fungal mycelium which look like cottony structures.

Brown Patch in a lawn

Lesions on Grass Blades

It is mainly a problem on improved varieties of Tall Fescue. If you have a variety that is especially susceptible to Brown Patch disease and the ideal environmental conditions are expected for an extended period of time, you might need to have your lawn treated with a fungicide to prevent having to reseed the lawn in the fall. However, if a cold front is expected within a few days to lower the humidity and nighttime temperatures, it may not be necessary to spray. Brown Patch can disfigure a lawn but the disease does not kill the crown of the grass and recovery is possible provided we are not in the middle of a drought.

If you suspect you have Brown Patch disease, avoid nighttime watering if you can. Afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms on a humid night set up the ideal conditions for Brown Patch disease. Preventative fungicide application can be used to suppress the disease as well. More information on Brown Patch UMD

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Lawn Mushrooms

Though we can’t control mushrooms directly, there are management practices that can reduce them.

lawn mushrooms

Lawn mushroom

Mushrooms in your lawn call for different measures than standard lawn weed control. Mushrooms are classified as fungi, rather than weeds. Most mushroom-producing fungi in lawns are actually beneficial, because they break down organic matter, releasing nutrients that promote plant growth.

Mushrooms found in lawns often grow in areas where there are dead tree roots, excess thatch, or other organic matter. These mushrooms are usually harmless to grasses, but some people don’t like the look of them in the grass or want to get rid of them because children play in the area. Many of these mushrooms are associated with over irrigation, poor drainage or excess thatch. Removing excess thatch and aerating the soil to improve drainage as part of a lawn care program may help. There are many different types of fungus and molds. Have you ever seen the lovely sight of the “Dog Vomit Fungus” growing in a mulched area ? Click for more info

 

Extensive areas of fungi in your lawn, with or without mushrooms, may require more aggressive management. Give ProLawn Plus a call today for a free lawn care estimate. We will provide a complete lawn analysis and recommendations to rid your lawn of mushrooms and other fungi, allowing your lawn to be able to grow to its full potential.

 

ProLawnPlus provides professional lawn care and tree/shrub services for Maryland residents in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, in addition to portions of Harford and Carroll Counties.

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Brown Patch Lawn Disease

Brown Patch disease (Rhizoctonia spp.) occurs in Maryland in warm, humid weather. The combination of daytime temperatures that are over 85°F and nighttime temperatures that stay above 65° F  with little air flow leaving the grass moist  for over eight hours are the perfect conditions for this turf disease.  You can identify Brown Patch by its symptoms.  Light tan lesions with dark brown edges across the middle or tips of the grass blades are signs you might have Brown Patch. On mornings with abundant dew, you will actually be able to see the signs of the fungal mycelium which look like cottony structures.

brown patch lawn disease

Lesions on Grass Blades

Brown Patch Lawn Disease

Brown Patch in Lawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is mainly a problem on improved varieties of Tall Fescue. If you have a variety that is especially susceptible to Brown Patch disease and the ideal environmental conditions are expected for an extended period of time, you might need to have your lawn treated with a fungicide to avoid having to reseed the lawn in the fall. However, if a cold front is expected within a few days to lower the humidity and nighttime temperatures, it may not be necessary to spray.

If you suspect you have brown patch, avoid nighttime watering if you can. Afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms on a humid night set up the ideal conditions for Brown Patch disease.  More information on Brown Patch UMD

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Brown Patch Disease on Lawns

Brown Patch disease (Rhizoctonia spp.) occurs in Maryland in warm, humid weather. The combination of daytime temperatures that are over 85°F and nighttime temperatures that stay above 65° F  with little air flow leaving the grass moist  for over eight hours are the perfect conditions for this turf disease.  You can identify Brown Patch by its symptoms.  Light tan lesions with dark brown edges across the middle or tips of the grass blades are signs you might have Brown Patch. On mornings with abundant dew, you will actually be able to see the signs of the fungal mycelium which look like cottony structures.

 

Brown Patch
Click to enlarge

 

It is mainly a problem on improved varieties of Tall Fescue. If you have a variety that is especially susceptible to Brown Patch disease and the ideal environmental conditions are expected for an extended period of time, you might need to have your lawn treated with a fungicide to avoid having to reseed the lawn in the fall. However, if a cold front is expected within a few days to lower the humidity and nighttime temperatures, it may not be necessary to spray.

If you suspect you have brown patch, avoid nighttime watering if you can. Afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms on a humid night set up the ideal conditions for Brown Patch disease.  More information on Brown Patch UMD

Please let us know if you have any questions about this disease.

 

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Summer Update

Slime Mold_MS2013_edit01

Slime mold
© Pro-Lawn-Plus

mushroom_COstate

Mushrooms
© Colorado State University Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does your lawn have either of these things?

Whenever we have a period of rainfall, warm temperatures, and high humidity, we always receive calls about mushrooms. We also receive calls about bluish-gray fungus on the lawn. The good news is that both of these are called saprophytic fungi, meaning they are not feeding on the grass itself. Therefore, neither lawn fungus needs to be treated with a lawn fungicide.  Mushrooms are the fruiting body of fungi that feed on rotting wood underground and they may be a symptom of a lawn disease called ‘Fairy Ring’; but it does NOT need to be treated. You can just kick the mushrooms over and they will dry out within a day or so. And with slime mold, you can either wash the particles (technically called pustules) off or kick it off of the grass blades it attaches itself to. Generally, when the lawns dry out and the humidity diminishes, the mushrooms and slime mold will disappear.

Here is the link to our website that describes mushrooms

https://www.prolawnplus.com/education/mushrooms/

Finally, here is a link from Ohio State University that describes slime mold in more detail

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/3000/pdf/3074.pdf

 

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Red Thread, fungus lawn diseases.

Redthread001_cmd2013_edit

Top view of Red Thread
Click image to enlarge

Red thread disease and it’s associated lawn disease Pink Patch (Laetisaria spp) are both turf diseases that like cool, wet spring weather. It likes temperatures in the 60’s and low 70’s with high humidity and in soils with high moisture content. It is an interesting lawn disease because of the red fungal mycelium (strands) that are visible to the naked eye.

The disease develops in circular or irregular patches from 4 inches to 2 feet in diameter. Affected leaves within these patches are tan or bleached-white in color. From a distance, the patches usually have that reddish appearance, due to the presence of thick, red strands of fungal growth emanating from the affected leaves. It is through production of these “red threads” that the fungus spreads to healthy plants and survives unfavorable conditions. Small tufts of pink, fuzzy mycelium may also be present in or around the patches when the leaves are wet or humidity is high. After prolonged periods of disease development, the patches may merge to produce large irregularly shaped areas of damaged turf.

Red thread most commonly affects Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and sometimes tall fescue. Outbreaks usually occur in lower maintenance turf stands such as residential lawns, golf course roughs, and some low budget athletic fields. Red thread development is most common where turfgrass nutrition is poor but that is not always the case. Soils that have little or no topsoil and organic matter and don’t hold nutrients are susceptible to Red Thread and Pink Patch as well.

Generally, only in the worst cases of these two lawn diseases is it necessary to spray fungicides. There would need to be a prolonged period of cool weather to necessitate control products. A few hot, dry days usually will eliminate the symptoms.

Here is a fact sheet from the University of Maryland that explains the disease in more detail – http://hgic.umd.edu/content/documents/TT-24.pdf

 

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