Summer is here and so is the heat and humidity. We only get a few months of warm weather here in Ohio and you want to do everything you can to enjoy it. The last thing you need to be doing is spending time worrying about lawn problems. But unfortunately, when the weather is warm and conducive to us being outside, it’s also prime time for lawn diseases and lawn fungi to take over your turf. So, before you fall victim to the summer lawn diseases we are faced with in Cincinnati, learn about the three most common, how to identify them, and what you can do to prevent them.
Just as the name implies, this lawn fungus shows up during long periods of heat and drought stress. Caused by a fungus named, Magnaporthe poae, it affects cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and fine leaf fescue. The fungus that causes summer patch, Magnaporthe poae, can cause extensive damage to the root system of your grass.
Symptoms of summer patch start with small spots of straw-colored grass. These patches get bigger over time and sometimes leave a small circle of healthy green grass in the middle called “frog-eyes”. Summer patch causes blades of grass to turn brown from the tip down.
How Can You Prevent Summer Patch From Destroying Your Cincinnati Lawn?
Because summer patch outbreaks are associated with severe heat and drought stress during the summer, cultural practices that relieve such stresses will minimize disease damage. While fungicides can help to control this lawn condition once it begins, there are a few things you can do to help prevent summer patch in the first place. Some of these include:
- Core aeration in the fall and spring will help alleviate thatch build-up and promote deep-rooting. Deep-rooting is always beneficial as it helps to build up your grass’s strength and build up its immunity to disease and stress.
- Irrigating for longer yet fewer periods of time. Doing this will help keep the water focused on the roots.
- Redirect traffic on your lawn to minimize compaction
- Fertilize on a regularly scheduled basis to help increase the number of nutrients your turf receives building its strength and vibrancy.
Like summer patch, brown patch is a disease that typically occurs in the summer but instead of during heat and drought, after bouts of heat and wet weather. Therefore, anytime we experience high temperatures and tons of humidity, the risk of brown patch is much greater. This lawn destroyer is caused by the species in the genus Rhizoctonia and can be found in all cool-season turfgrasses.
Symptoms vary depending on the type of cool-season grass you have but usually include thinned-out areas of circular, light brown patches up to several feet in diameter. Affected leaves typically remain upright but usually contain lesions and a dark brown border. When the leaves are wet, or humidity is high, small amounts of gray cottony growth, called mycelium, can be seen.
Brown Patch Prevention
There are few differences in brown patch resistance among varieties of bluegrass, ryegrass, or bentgrass. In general, avoid overusing fertilizers high in nitrogen during periods of hot and humid weather. Try not to irrigate daily but only when weather conditions are favorable and only do so during the morning, just before sunrise. This will help to remove large droplets of water and dew from the leaves. All of the prevention methods listed above for summer patch will also help in preventing brown patch.
We also recommend investing in a regular lawn maintenance program with a professional lawn care company. One that offers an adequate amount of fertilizer at the precise time to ensure your turf is receiving the exact amount of nutrients needed for your grass type.
Dollar spot appears on your lawn in the form of bleached-looking circles approximately two to six inches in diameter. You can tell that it’s dollar spot instead of other diseases because the spots have cobweb-like strands early in the morning when the grass is wet.
Cincinnati’s warm, humid summers make the perfect environment for dollar spot because like brown patch, it also thrives in warm, moist conditions. Leaf lesions are round and bleached white to light tan with brown to purplish borders. On top of summer weather conditions, excessive thatch, low mowing, and low air circulation can also contribute to dollar spot disease.
Dollar Spot Prevention
The key to dollar spot prevention is proper lawn care practices, especially when it comes to fertilizing. If dollar spot becomes apparent in your lawn, apply a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. This will aid in fighting the disease while helping the grass recover quickly. Also, keep your yard clear of leaves and debris as they can trap moisture for extended periods sparking fungi like dollar spot to start growing.
Protect Your Cincinnati Lawn From Summer Diseases With Turf Pro Plus
You can help prevent all three of these summer lawn stressors by investing in a lawn care program such as the one your friends at Turf Pro Plus provide. Our six-step lawn care program offers the balance application of nutrients your turf needs to stay healthy and robust. We understand our local climate and the types of cool-season grasses we have in the area and know how much fertilizer to use and when.
We are also the experts you can call if your lawn falls victim to one of the above conditions by some misfortune. Learn more by visiting our website, or contact us now either online or by phone at 513-545-6295.