One of the most frustrating things about lawn fungus is that you can do everything right—and it’s sometimes still unavoidable. Lawn diseases like Brown Patch and Dollar Spot are common in Cincinnati and Dayton, OH, and Northern Kentucky, and when the conditions are right (hot and wet), it may be inevitable.
In this article, we’ll explain what you should know about finding fungus on grass. We know it can be incredibly frustrating but fortunately, a healthy lawn will bounce back with the right care.
What is Lawn Fungus?
Lawns are living things made up of millions of microorganisms. Fungus spores exist on every lawn and are usually beneficial to your soil health. But when the conditions are right (hot temperatures and high moisture), spores can begin to multiply and become a problem.
As we mentioned, the most common turf diseases in our area are Brown Patch and Dollar Spot, which are hard to tell apart. You’d have to compare individual grass blades to see a difference. Brown Patch is more blotchy on the leaf blades but Dollar Spot travels across the leaf blade. Both of these lawn diseases show up as yellow or brown spots throughout the turf.
Other types of lawn fungus that we sometimes see in our area include Red Thread, Fairy Ring, and Rust diseases. A lawn care professional can help you to make the proper turf disease identification on your lawn.
Understanding How Lawn Disease Starts: The Turf Disease Triangle
To better understand lawn diseases it helps to understand the turf disease triangle. Lawn disease occurs from three factors: a disease-causing organism (lawn fungus in this case), a susceptible host (grass species), and a favorable environment (moist and hot weather).
When all of these factors are present, a disease can emerge and spread.
Of course, there may be other lawn problems occurring at the same time as a disease. A lawn that is under stress or that is already struggling is going to be more susceptible to a disease problem than one that is healthy and thriving. That’s why improving your lawn’s overall health is important.
How to Deal with Lawn Fungus
While lawn disease tends to look really bad and cause a lot of panic, the good news is that it very rarely actually kills the lawn. Most of the time, the lawn bounces right back when the conditions in the disease triangle change.
This is why we do not recommend lawn fungicides. We know that a lot of companies sell this as an add-on service, but the fact is, they’re really expensive. They also don’t cure the disease, they just suppress it. It’s a common misconception that fungicides fix the damage that’s been done. That’s not the case at all. They just stop the disease from spreading.
These types of products also need to be repeatedly applied—and that cost can really start to add up.
For lawn care companies that offer fungicides, it can be a big revenue driver. The cost of applying a single fungicide treatment can be as much as two to three times the cost of a typical lawn care application. With the number of repeated applications that you’d need to get good coverage, you can end up spending the amount you’d spend on a total lawn care program just for fungicide applications.
Because we have our clients best interests at heart, we let them know that we’d rather see them invest money into a lawn care program that helps promote a thick and healthy lawn (which will help naturally fight back against lawn fungus plus bounce back quicker) than to see them throw tons of money into fungicide treatments.
Promoting a Healthy Lawn to Fight Lawn Disease
The good news about lawn disease is that it doesn’t last forever. In fact, if you already have a strong and healthy lawn, it will likely run its course fairly quickly.
In the vast majority of cases, the weather conditions, grass type, and a disease-causing organism align for only a short period of time. That means you might be dealing with some patches of discoloration for around two to three weeks. But once something in the disease triangle changes (usually the weather), you’ll see it start to fade.
At Oasis Turf & Tree, we’re also taking steps to mitigate the problem by tailoring our program to the conditions. Some turf diseases thrive in high nitrogen conditions and others thrive in low nitrogen conditions. Our lawn care technicians will make a turf disease identification and then make recommendations based on what you’re dealing with.
We’ll also take steps to make changes in the triangle. While we obviously have no control over the weather, we can introduce more disease-resistant grass species into your lawn with aeration and overseeding. This will also help to fill in any bare or thin spots that might have been caused by the lawn disease.
Plus, on top of all that, we are always proactively educating homeowners. We encourage them to take photos of anything that they see on their lawn in between our visits. And we are constantly sharing helpful tips on the proper cultural practices including proper watering.
A lot of people don’t realize that their watering habits can play a huge role in spreading disease conditions. Watering the lawn toward the end of the day or at night does not give the sun enough time to evaporate that excess water. This can contribute to an environment that is favorable for disease-causing organisms to grow.
Mowing can also play a role. You want to make sure that you’re mowing your lawn properly and not putting unnecessary stress on it by cutting the grass too short. Improper mowing can make a lawn more susceptible to invasive turf diseases.
Protect Your Lawn’s Health and Fight Off Turf Disease
At the end of the day, even the healthiest of lawns will sometimes face lawn disease when all of the conditions align. But there is no denying that a strong and healthy lawn is going to do a much better job fending off disease than one that is already weak and struggling.
That’s why it’s so important to keep up with a regular lawn care program.
But we also believe that a healthy lawn is a team effort. Some of your actions, like watering and mowing, can contribute significantly to the overall health of the lawn so we want to help support you with helpful guidance.
By working together, we can help you achieve a thick and healthy turf that is not only going to look great but is going to have a much better chance of fighting back against invasive lawn disease. While we can’t promise you that you’ll never face any problems (and any company that’s making that promise will never be able to deliver), we can help you ensure it’s not going to end up ruining your lawn.
You should also know that we’re always here to help. We’re ready to offer advice and help set you up for success every step of the way.
Want to learn more about professional lawn care services for your Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, or Northern Kentucky home? Request your quote, choose the lawn care program that’s right for you, and then sit back and relax as the pros help you get the lawn of your dreams without the worries.