Lawn Disease Control

This Lawn Disease Triangle

Three factors must be present for lawn disease to occur – this is known as the disease triangle. Let’s take a look at what this entails:

  1. The Pathogen – There are close to 25 soil born pathogens, fungi, bacteria, and viruses already present and waiting in the soil for the next two factors.
  2. The Host – Most lawns are made up of several different species of turfgrass. There are also several different varieties of the same species. This means your lawn could be made up of a different variety of turfgrasses than your neighbor’s. Your lawn could be susceptible to a lawn disease and theirs may not be.
  3. The Environmental Conditions – This is really anything that might contributes to the stress of the turfgrass plant. These include conditions such as compaction, heavy thatch, poor ventilation, heat stress, cold stress, favorable disease temperatures, high or low pH, mowing too short, dull mower blades, high traffic areas, too much shade, too much rain, not enough rain, humidity, low nitrogen, high nitrogen, etc.

Prolonged leaf wetness for more than 48 hours is normally a leading cause for lawn disease to appear.

Controlling Lawn Disease

At Ford’s Hometown Services, we do the best we can in helping control lawn diseases. Please know, all lawns are susceptible at any point in time. Diseases are common and should be expected.

Cultural Control ­­– Diseases are unpreventable in many cases. However, cultural practices, such as proper watering and mowing, can eliminate half of environmental conditions that lead to disease.

Chemical Control – Your annual lawn program does not include fungicides. Depending on the disease and severity, you may need one to three applications for control. Fungicides only suppress the pathogen in the plant, but do not eliminate it. If the environmental pressures persist, control could be limited.  Note: The disease could return after the fungicide residual dissipates (normally after 2 weeks).

Some diseases, once discovered, should receive a preventative application every year.

Common lawn diseases found in Massachusetts: Snow Mold, Red Thread, Dollar Spot, Brown Patch, Fairy Ring and Necrotic Ring Spot (or Summer Patch). For additional reading on lawn disease identification you can visit Turfgrass Science at Purdue University: Disease Control.

Kris Lord [CC BY-SA 2.5 (]

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