Current Conditions Lawn Tips
A Lot of things are going on in our area.
Especially with the current weather conditions.
As the conditions have gone from a wet Spring to a Hot and dry stretch, sending lawns into dormancy and now we are getting occasional rain showers with lots of humidity and still high temps. These scenarios are some of the worst conditions for a lawn and we are seeing some of the ramifications from them. Here is some information about a lot of the different problems you may be seeing or might see in the near future. Especially as some lawns are attempting to come out of dormancy.
Insects such as armyworm, sod webworm, cutworm, and chinch bug can go undetected while doing damage. Especially during hot and dry periods when the lawn goes dormant, you may not notice the damage until things begin to recover.
What they are - Patch diseases are fungus caused by hot and humid weather, especially hot and muggy nights. When the turf stays moist all night long it creates prime conditions for fungal growth. Also, watering after the lawn is already starting to go dormant can cause these problems. That is why it is important to start watering as soon as the first signs of stress appear.
What to do now - In most cases, your normal fertilization treatments along with rain or watering will help aid in the recovery. The grass plant must grow through the disease.
Mowing: Keep your mower height at 3" or taller and keep the blades nice and sharp.
Fungicide Application: Are a bit costly and are not generally effective at curing patch diseases. In some severe cases, they can help with the spreading of the disease, but will not cure them.
Watering: You want to water infrequently yet deeply, 2-3 days a week for 45min - 1 hr. in each area. Avoid watering with less than 2 hrs. of daylight left in the day and do not water at night.
Once the humidity settles down that will greatly decrease the chances of spreading or new infection.
Down the road - Having your lawn aerated every year or two will help reduce your chances of disease and fungus. It reduces soil compaction, the thatch layer, and allows better water penetration and air circulation.
Ascochyta Leaf Blight
What it is - Ascochyta Leaf Blight is a minor fungus that lives on the leaf blade. The fungus enters the leaf blade through the cut end (when you mow or other traffic areas). It causes the blade to quickly turn a straw-color and appear dead.
Why the fungus happens or how it works is not well understood by researchers. It does seem to coincide with seasonal changes from cooler wet, to hot, humid, and dry periods.
Mowing during the heat of the day, mowing off more than 1/3 of the grass blade, and dull mower blades seem to intensify the damage.
It mainly affects bluegrass, but can still be found on some rye and fescue lawns.
You might notice - Straw-colored wheel track patterns from mowers or other equipment, or areas of heavy foot traffic to be more noticeable than other areas. In effect, these actions slightly bruised the grass blades creating a welcoming host for the fungi (which was already present) to invade. Thus, creating some pattern like areas. Also along concrete are common areas to notice the blight and sometimes they just appear to be random spots.
The good news - Ascochyta leaf blight does not typically affect the crown and roots. Therefore, with a little time, patience, and regular watering (hopefully some natural precipitation) the lawn should recover to its former state. This should happen within 2-4 weeks in most cases, depending on weather and watering.
What to do now - Watering: You want to water infrequently yet deeply, 2-3 days a week for 45min - 1hr in each area. Avoid watering with less than 2 hrs of daylight left in the day do not water at night.
Mowing: While the fungus is present reduce mowing frequency and increase mowing height. Avoid mowing during wet weather as it may harm the turf and provide more infection points for the pathogen.
*Avoid mowing in the heat of the day and time mowing to be a day or two after rain or watering.
*Keep your mower height at 3”–4” tall and keep the blades nice and sharp.
*Leave the clippings on the lawn as long as it does not leave clumping.
In the future - Having your lawn aerated every year or two will help reduce your chances of disease and fungus. It reduces your thatch layer, allows better water penetration, and air circulation.
Dollar spot: is a common foliar disease that occurs on most types of turfgrasses. Dollar spot is most prevalent from late spring to early fall when high humidity and cool nights favor the formation of dew on turfgrass for extended periods and the temperature is most conducive for the growth of the fungus. In most instances, the fertilizer we apply will cure the problem and help the lawn grow through the disease. But in some severe cases, a fungicide is needed to ensure permanent damage is not done to the turf. If you have a concern that you might have dollar spot give us a call and we will come out and take a look.
1. Most importantly we need to be patient with our lawns recover. We need Mother Nature to help with natural rainfall, cooler temps, and less humidity.
2. A large amount of the issues we are seeing this Summer will be able to recover on their own, in time. You may have some areas that need some extra help or re-seeding, but give the weather ample time before deciding on the needs. By early to mid-September you should have a good idea of what all will recover.
3. Since some of the issues out there are fungus/disease, I wanted to address fungicide treatments. The best way to use fungicide treatments is as a preventative, we do offer a 3-Step Fungicide program, which are applied during the prime disease months. However once you have a disease a fungicide will only help prevent any spreading, it will not help it recover any faster. Also, they are a bit costly.
4. Watering - If you have been watering since the onset of the dry conditions, please continue as close to our recommendations as possible.
If you have not watered to this point, don't start watering like crazy now. You will be better off letting Mother Nature do the work even though it may be slower. If you do want to help speed things up, try to give the lawn one good soaking per week, for an hour in each area.
5. On our future visits, we will be doing the best we can to address any of the issues that your lawn may be having. Which may require more fertilizer, less fertilizer, no fertilizer and a heavy dose of surface insecticide, and of course addressing any weed, crabgrass, or sedge that is present.
6. If you have any questions or would like us to stop by before your next visit, give us a call or send us an email.