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How to Spot and Treat Common Fall Turf Diseases

With the changing of seasons, there’s more work for landscape contractors than fall clean ups and winterizing irrigation systems. The weather shift also makes it a prime time for diseases to creep into lawns. Here are a few common fall turf diseases and how to treat them.

Lawn Rust Diseases

Puccinia triticina, a type of rust fungus.

Have grass blades that look coated in rust? That’s actually a disease that’s caused by a fungus, usually during the fall’s wet weather. Turf that is stressed or undernourished is more likely to be affected by this fungus.

The best way to prevent this fungus and disease is to keep your lawn well-fed with the right fertilizer blend for your soil, grass type and region. Your local Ewing store can help make recommendations for fertilizers. If your turf already has a rusty hue to it, you can apply a fungicide, such as Strobe Pro G, to combat the disease. For best results, practice good lawn maintenance, such as proper watering, fertilizing and not mowing too much at a time, before, during and after applying the fungicide.

Dollar Spot Fungus

Another fall fungal disease to look out for is dollar spot. It tends to grow and spread with cool, moist weather. This disease spreads in an outward, circular pattern, starting with small yellow spots on grass blades that eventually turn the blade white.

Luckily dollar spot disease doesn’t impact the roots of your turf, but it’s still important to take care of it before it spreads too widely. Fungicides, like Strobe Pro G and Pillar G, can help manage this disease if you can catch it early enough. Once again, properly fertilizing your lawn can prevent fungus and disease issues.

Brown Patch

A lawn that may be suffering from brown patch disease.

Brown patch is one of the more common fall turf diseases, primarily impacting tall fescue, ryegrass and bluegrass. If your lawn has brown patch, you’ll see circular areas of dead grass and the blades can be easily pulled from the stem. Luckily, this disease does not cause permanent damage and because it’s so common, there are many fungicide solutions, including Strobe Pro G or Fame G, available to treat it.

Snow Mold

Gray snow mold (also called Typhula blight) is caused by Typhula spp., while pink snow mold (also called Fusarium patch) is caused by Microdochium nivalis.

Winter grass blends are very susceptible to snow mold, also called fusarium patch. This mold typically shows up after snow melts away, but it can appear earlier in the season because of an onset of cold, wet weather. It starts as a yellow/green color but turns into a pink shade. Fortunately, snow mold goes away on its own in the spring, as the cold weather and snow dissipates. However, if it lingers into the warm spring season, you can simply cut the turf and reseed.

What are other fall turf diseases you’ve come across while maintaining your customers’ lawns? Tell us in the comments below. 

TAGS: Fungicide, Turf, Turf Management, Turf Disease