Fungus Control is included in The Picture Perfect Plus Package, Part Three
Fungus control is often disregarded as a nonnecessity for fescue lawns by many homeowners and professionals alike. While it is true that the majority of fescue lawns do not experience detrimental rates of fungus during the average growing season, it can quickly become an acute issue during abnormally rainy and humid years or a chronic problem for lawns that hold water excessively. As a result, it is valuable for every homeowner and professional to understand the causes of disease in fescue lawns, the signs of a brewing fungal issue, and the viability of fungus control.
While there are many types of warm season and cool season grasses that each come with their own list of potential fungal sensitivities, in the Richmond area of Virginia, our primary focus is on cool season turf type tall fescue. Fungal diseases associated with fescue include red thread, slime mold, dollar spot, pythium blight, gray leaf spot, and brown patch. While some of these diseases are merely cosmetic, others can be devastating if left untreated.
Red thread and slime mold fall solidly in the cosmetic category. Red thread in fescue grows in patches of the lawn during the spring or fall in slow growing lawns that are holding moisture. It is most notable for the red coloring caused by “threads” of fungus that grow off of infected blades of grass. While it will turn infected blades a tan or white color, it does not kill the plant. As the infected areas grow out and are mowed, the color returns to normal. Slime mold, on the other hand, is known by its appearance of gray or black pustules on and among the blades of grass. Slime mold is also seen during warm, wet weather patterns, usually in thick areas of turf. Slime mold can be simply washed off with a hose, but usually disappears on its own in a few days. It takes an extreme case of red thread or slime mold for the diseases to do long term damage to a lawn.
Dollar spot is a common fungus that floats between cosmetic and detrimental depending on the situation. Like most diseases in fescue, dollar spot develops during warm conditions in lawns receiving excessive rain or watering. Dollar spot is identifiable with its appearance most similar to a spiderweb. This formation is most visible in the morning when the dew is still present. In mild situations, dollar spot is simply cosmetic. However, it can be a harbinger of more serious fungal issues like the ones detailed below, and can do damage to turf itself if left to get out of control.
Pythium blight, gray leaf spot, and brown patch are all diseases in fescue that require fungus control applications to prevent significant loss of turf areas during the growing season. While each disease is caused by a unique type of fungus and has discerning conditions that impact its prevalence such as temperature ranges and nitrogen levels, all three are seen during warm and wet conditions. For the sake of discerning between them, pythium blight is associated with gray, fluffy fungal formations in infected areas; gray leaf spot is rare and associated with the presence of newly germinated seed; and brown patch has a visible ring around infected areas.
As with any disease, fungus control is most effective when considered from a preventive perspective rather than a curative one. In some cases, it is possible to reduce the risk of fungus by controlling the environmental factors that lead to it in a lawn. While a homeowner cannot change how hot it gets outside, they can monitor, adjust, and plan their lawn’s grading, drainage, and watering. In the event that weather patterns show a higher risk of humidity and rain, or if a lawn is known to hold moisture and naturally be at higher risk of fungal disease, fungus control can be applied on a preventive schedule to nip disease in the bud before it damages the turf.
In the event that fungus develops in a lawn and begins to do damage, stronger applications of fungicide can be performed as a corrective treatment. This is usually a bit higher in cost and does not always cure damaged parts of the lawn. Either way, it is best to apply several applications of fungus control; the first to halt the spread of the disease, the second to clear it out of the lawn, and the third to keep it from coming back at the end of the summer.
If you’re interested in exploring PPLM’s fungus control program or any other treatments covered in our Plus Package, be sure to contact your PPLM representative today!
Lawn Care Services That PPLM Provides For Lawns:
● – Tailored and Detailed Fertilization Programs
● – Weed Control
● – Aeration and Overseeding
● – Mosquito Control
● – Fungus Control
● – Grub Control
● – Nutsedge Control
● – Plus More…….
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