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Lawn Disease - Prevention and Management Tips

With the warmer weather now in full swing your lawn will be in the midst of extreme hyper-growth - after all, a lush, green lawn is synonymous with an Australian summer. While you will want to retain your lawns’ plush aesthetics and vibrant colour, the burgeoning growth of your lawn comes with the threat of lawn disease, particularly as the warmer weather continues to be ever-present. Just like any other living thing, lawns can be subject to disease and other cautionary bugs. But with a little tender love and care, as well as dedicating time into maintaining your lawn’s well-being, you can have a thriving, disease free lawn not just for summer, but perennially too. To get started, it’s best to understand what diseases your lawn could be subject to. After this, it’s imperative to understand the preventative measures you should take to give your turf the best chance possible to stay healthy, avoiding disease entirely. Similarly, it’s just as important to understand how to care for your lawn should it carry any disease. From here, an understanding of how to manage your lawn’s health is needed, to ensure it starves off any future bugs looking to make their way onto your lawn.

Summer garden tips

What types of lawn diseases and there?

There are quite a few lawn diseases that, when left in the ideal condition, can plague your lawn. As the first sign of any lawn disease, look for discolouration of your turf and sprigs that look lifeless. When these attributes re-occur in multiple areas across your lawn, it’s likely it’s infected with a type of lawn disease. Identifying that your lawn could be afflicted is a step in the right direction - next is getting some clarity on what the disease could be. This is where your local gardener will be able to provide their expertise and diagnose accordingly. The most common lawn diseases include; dollar spot, brown patch, fairy ring, red thread, rust, and summer patch, amongst others.

  • Dollar spot is when your lawn simply dies in patches that resemble the size and shape of coins. It will also transition from green to brown or even a reddish colour.

  • Brown patch, as the name would suggest, is where grass dies in larger patches resulting in formerly green grass turning into a pale brown colour.

  • Fairy ring can occur in any grass type, making it a universally threatening disease. You will be able to tell if your turf has fairy ring if a dark green circle appears, as well as potential sprouts of mushroom and weeds.

  • Red thread disease can be identified if your grass turns into a bleached looking colour, with the ends of the blades shrivelled up or broken.

  • Rust, another common lawn disease, gives your lawn a rusty look, covering it with orange, reddish dust-like particles. Ironically, it’s not necessarily bad for your lawn, but it certainly isn’t an appealing look.

  • Summer patch is a lawn disease you’ve likely come across before; prone to amp up in the warmer months, summer patch causes grass to turn from a healthy green colour to yellow mainly because of dehydration.

Lawn disease

What actually causes lawn disease?

The cause of lawn disease depends entirely on what type of disease it is. If we look at the common diseases previously mentioned, we can gauge the common causes for each. Dollar spot is likely to occur at a moderate temperature, with the lawn exposed to excess moisture, i.e. heavy rainfall or over-watering. Compile this with a lack of fertilization and dollar spot is in a prime condition to thrive. Brown patch would find an Australian summer its dream; warm weather with humidity in the air and a downpour of rain sets the conditions for brown patch disease. While able to occur anywhere, there are specific conditions for which fairy ring can grow. Grass that is covered in heavy thatch - dead grass tissue - or any type of undecomposed matter can lead to the onset of fairy ring. On the other hand, red thread occurs in bleak conditions, ultimately in moderate temperatures that experience high levels of moisture. And as with dollar spot, a lack of fertilization enhances the threat of the red thread disease. Rust disease favours mild weather conditions that are more often dry than not. Rural areas of Australia may see the development of rust disease in their grass more so than humid coastal locations. As for summer patch, again this disease is rampant in the lead up to and throughout the summer month. Expect to see summer patch booming when the weather is warm and humid and if the grass has been cut too low.

What are some remedies for lawn disease should it occur?

While there is a heightened threat of lawn disease this season, there is also a plethora of remedies you can put in place to either prevent the onset of lawn disease or cure any pre-existing conditions or unattended bugs. For dollar spot, aerate your lawn by poking holes throughout allowing fertiliser to seep into the necessary spots. If you’ve experience dollar spot in the past, a fungicide may need to be used to stave off any future outbreaks. Should brown patch occur, a fungus control will do the trick. If fairy ring occurs at your place, look at aerating your lawn and deeply saturating it. Also, remove any buildup of thatch and rake away mushrooms and weeds should they have developed. For red thread, look at installing a proper irrigation and fertilization system. Also, keep your turf in as little shade as possible to give it the warmth and air it needs. Similarly, for rust disease install a proper irrigation and fertilization system and be sure to keep up with regular mowing and garden maintenance. With the onset of summer patch, be sure to aerate your lawn, water it regularly, fertilize aptly and don’t cut the turf too short - leave some healthy length on it.

Remedies for lwn disease

If you’re after a natural remedy for lawn disease, opt for organic fertiliser you can make at home. Compost is one of the best do-it-yourself fertilisers, as well as grass clippings. Next time you’ve finished dinner or mowed the lawn, save the scraps for your very own brand of lawn fertiliser. Natural fertilisers are also ideal as they slowly release the nutrients your lawn needs over time, whereas chemical fertilisers can, at times, overstimulate growth making your lawn even more susceptible to disease and bugs. Another natural remedy for lawn disease, as aforementioned, is simply to aerate and mow your lawn properly and when needed. Giving your lawn air to breath so the roots can grow is of utmost importance. Similarly, cutting your grass when needed to stimulate growth is also just as critical to your lawn’s health. If you take these preventative measures, reactive solutions such as chemical fertilisations won’t be necessary.

Having a chat with your local gardener about your turf situation is the best place to start when it comes to lawn disease. We have some of the best in all major cities such as Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin.

Understanding your lawn allows you to choose the right remedies, whether preventative or reactive, to ensure you have a healthy lawn all year ‘round. 

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