Updated January 22, 2021

Fungal Disease in Lawns

With Southeast Queensland summers being some of the wettest times of the year, this rain combined with high humidity and high temperatures becomes the perfect environment for one thing in your lawn - fungal disease.

Image courtesy of Lawn Solutions Australia

Some lawn types are more susceptible to fungal disease than others, as well as some areas of your yard prone to suffer more than others. And, when it does take hold, it is incredibly important to identify and address it as soon as possible.

So, what causes lawn fungal disease and how do you know if your lawn is suffering from it? 

What causes lawn fungal disease?

There are six common reasons why fungal disease can occur in your lawn:

  • Weather conditions - in particular humidity and temperature.
  • Soil compaction.
  • Overwatering.
  • Overfertilising and/or using the wrong kind of fertiliser.
  • Poor mowing habits (especially mowing your lawn too low).
  • Choosing a grass type that is incompatible with the designated area.

Symptoms of lawn fungal disease

Some of the most common fungal related symptoms that can occur include:

  • Coloured patches in your lawn (white, brown and/or yellow).
  • Coloured rings in your lawn (brown, white and/or yellow)
  • Powdering coatings or ‘threads’ on the grass blade surface.
  • Thinned out areas.
  • Areas of slimy or wet looking lawn.
  • Leaf blades with irregular discolouration or texture.

How do you treat lawn fungal disease?

When it comes to fungal diseases in your lawn, it is important to determine which type your lawn is suffering from. Once this has been found, you can take the correct steps to stop the disease spreading and get rid of it.

The following steps are common across most fungal disease treatments however, if you are concerned or unsure as to which type your lawn is suffering from, give Rosemount Turf a call on 5448 6398 and we would be happy to assist further.

Aeration

One of the first steps to take is to loosen the soil that your turf is growing in. By removing compaction, you are improving drainage, as well as improving your lawn's ability to absorb water, nutrients and oxygen. This will help your lawn stay healthier and hopefully assist with any fungal issues you may have (and stop any returning).

Fertilising

Either under-applying or over-applying fertiliser to soil that is nutrient deficient can promote fungal disease growth in some turf. It is always very important to speak to your local turf provider regarding any specific requirements for your exact turf variety, and make sure that you stick to a fertilising program that provides your grass with the nutrients it needs regularly throughout the year. It is super important for a happy and healthy lawn!

Remove thatch

Over time, your turf can develop a thick layer of thatch, dead organic matter, excessive roots and stems within the profile of your grass. Dethatching prevents water log in your roots and allows proper drainage, which will help to prevent the risk of fungal issues.

Irrigation and shade management

Try and avoid overwatering your lawn, especially in shaded areas. Shade prevents the quick evaporation of any surface water, including dew, and continued dampness will actively encourage fungal disease. 

When watering, always do so early in the morning and not at night, to allow the area to dry during the day. Water deeply, but less frequently, to encourage stronger roots and to allow the water to absorb properly. And always choose a sprinkler that covers a good area and distributes large water droplets to promote a good level of moisture.

Fungicide application

If all else fails, or if you have a particularly nasty fungal problem in your lawn, you will need to apply a fungicide. Fungicides kill fungi and the spores within the soil or plant and usually come in a liquid form.

Mancozeb is a trusted protectant fungicide that controls a wide range of diseases like powdery mildew, dollar spot and rust in your turf. For best results, a complete spray of the entire lawn is recommended. 

A great video from Lawn Solutions Australia regarding lawn fungal diseases can be found here.

For more information on specific fungal diseases and how to treat them, contact Rosemount Turf today!

Reference:

Article written by Ashlee Hall

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