We are still a ways away until we can go outside and enjoy our grass and athletic fields in Kalamazoo. But even though the ground is still frozen, it’s never too early to start educating yourself about the many different lawn diseases that can affect your grass this year. As spring temperatures return, so do problems that affect Kalamazoo lawns and athletic fields. Lawn diseases are common in our state and can affect your yard and athletic fields at different times of the year. Knowing the signs early can help prevent costly damage to your grass. Here’s a list of the most common lawn diseases we see in Michigan.
Leaf spot is a name given to a number of fungi that attack Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue. Leaf spot causes the most damage to golf courses, athletic fields, and residential lawns. The disease appears in round brownish spots on the grass blades. As the disease progresses the blades turn yellow and wilt, resembling drought stress. During the summer the disease can kill large swathes of your turf which can take weeks or months to repair.
Dollar spot gets its name from how it appears as blotches of white grass about the size of a silver dollar. In Kalamazoo, this disease rears its head in spring and summer when humidity is high and temperatures remain above 70 degrees. To prevent it from spreading, dispose of all grass clippings after you mow.
Red thread usually occurs in the cool, moist conditions of spring and fall. The disease affects ryegrass, bentgrass, bluegrass, and fine fescue. It appears as red to pink web-like threads that will kill your grass if action is not taken. The disease can be prevented by watering early and letting your grass dry out before the cooler temperatures of night arrive.
One of the reasons it is so important to rake your lawn in the fall is to prevent the occurrence of snow mold. Snow mold is just one type of winter kill disease. It is caused by a fungus that develops in the matted grass under the snow. It’s most common in the late winter and early spring when temperatures creep above 30 degrees. Usually, you won’t know if you have snow mold until after the snow melts in the spring. Luckily, the condition is treatable and usually clears up after raking and letting the area dry out.
Fusarium, or pink snow mold, is most prevalent in Kalamazoo during hot, humid conditions when our lawns are under drought stress. The disease mostly affects cool-season grasses such as bluegrass but can attack warm-season grasses as well. Affected turf will appear as light green round patches 2 to 6 inches in diameter. Fusarium blight can be prevented by overseeding your bluegrass with perennial ryegrass.
Necrotic Ring Spot
Affecting cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, necrotic ring spot is a disease that affects the crowns and roots of your grass. Damaged or weakened grass can become susceptible to other lawn diseases. The first signs of necrotic ring spots are light green to straw-colored spots in the lawn that can be several inches to several feet in diameter. As the necrotic ring spot progresses, grass on the edge dies and becomes matter while the grass in the center remains green. This gives the patches a ring-like appearance. To manage necrotic ring spots do not overwater and try overseeding with disease-resistant strains.
Curing and Preventing Lawn Diseases in Kalamazoo
Lawn diseases can be hard to control once they are established. Many underlying factors can lead to fungus and lawn diseases and most of them have to do with your grass being too wet. When water won’t soak into the ground it can create a host of problems. Core aeration is a way to break up thatch buildup and loosen up your soil so water can drain properly. Remember, a dry lawn is a happy lawn.
For All Your Athletic Field Maintenance Needs, Let The Pros at RZ Sports Turf Reinvent Your Lawn
Is your residential or commercial property in dire need of a new lawn? Are you looking for an affordable option for a new lawn or sports field? How about athletic field maintenance? Nobody can install new lawns and sports fields faster than the pros at RZ Sports Turf. We also specialize in athletic field renovations and repair and offer a complete fertilization program to help keep your turf healthy, robust, and better able to ward off disease. For those hard to control fungi, we offer effective fungicide treatments.