By Jaymi Curley | Editor & Writer
Even the most diligent efforts to maintain a gorgeous, green lawn can be undone by grass diseases and pests. However, knowing what to look out for can help a homeowner get the jump on things that might be lurking under the surface, waiting to wipe out your investment.
One of the most common diseases, says Dick Bare, owner of Atlanta lawn treatment company Arbor-Nomics Turf, is brown patch, which usually develops between late April and October. High humidity, warm temperatures, and excess moisture in the soil allow the fungus that causes the disease to grow and spread rapidly, resulting in brown, circular patches across the surface of the lawn ranging in size from mere inches to a couple of feet in diameter. Another common disease is dollar spot. “It makes little spots in the lawn that look like silver dollars, but of course by the time people notice them they’ve gotten a lot bigger,” says Bare. Dry soil and low nitrogen levels help promote the disease, creating the small, straw-colored circles tinged with white fungus growth that signify an infection of dollar spot. As the disease spreads, the spots can merge with one another, creating larger areas similar to those evident in brown patch.
Vigilance and maintenance are key to treating lawn diseases successfully, says Bare. “There are a lot of products. You spray those on once every six weeks or so, and they really do a great job. But the timing is very important regarding when they’re put down.” Waiting too long to bring the problem to a lawn professional’s attention can mean the difference between eradicating the blight and paying for expensive new sod. “A lot of people wait until they see it, and then it’s just like going to the dentist after you neglected your dental care. You’ve got to maintain your teeth, and so it’s kind of the same thing with the turf. If you wait for things to get serious, you may have some big problems.”
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