Maintaining a lush, green lawn in Missouri can be a rewarding endeavor, but it’s not without its challenges. One of the biggest obstacles for homeowners is dealing with lawn fungi that can wreak havoc on the health and appearance of their lawns. Some fungi can make your lawn look as though your lawn is dry and dying from the heat when in fact you are actually watering it too much, but that is a topic that we will discuss closer to summer. In this article, we will explore 3 of the most common lawn fungi found in Missouri, their symptoms, and effective strategies to prevent and manage them.
Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia solani)
Brown patch is a prevalent fungal disease in Missouri, particularly during warm and humid summers. It appears as circular patches of brown grass, ranging from a few inches to several feet in diameter. The affected areas may have a “smoke ring” appearance at the outer edge. Brown patch thrives in excessively moist or over-fertilized lawns, and it is often worsened by poor lawn drainage.
Prevention and Management
Avoid excessive nitrogen fertilization, especially during hot and humid weather. Water your lawn deeply and infrequently, preferably in the early morning hours. Improve lawn drainage by aerating the soil and removing thatch if possible. Fungicides can be used as a last resort if the disease persists.
Dollar Spot (Sclerotinia homoeocarpa)
Dollar spot is another common lawn fungi found in Missouri, typically affecting cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue. It appears as small, straw colored spots that gradually expand, forming distinct circular patches up to the size of a silver dollar. These patches may merge, leading to extensive damage.
Prevention And Management
Proper lawn maintenance practices, including regular mowing and adequate fertilization, help prevent dollar spot. Water your lawn early in the day to allow it to dry before nightfall. Ensure good soil drainage and reduce thatch buildup by aerating, harrowing, or dethatching your lawn. Fungicides can be effective in controlling severe dollar spot outbreaks as well.
Powdery Mildew (Erysiphe Graminis)
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that affects a wide range of lawn grasses in Missouri. It appears as a white, powdery growth on the blades of grass, often accompanied by yellowing or browning. It is commonly seen in shaded areas or during periods of high humidity and moderate temperatures.
Prevention and Management
Provide adequate sunlight and air circulation by pruning overhanging trees or shrubs. Avoid excessive nitrogen fertilization, as it promotes powdery mildew growth. Remove affected grass clippings to prevent the spread of the disease. Fungicides can be used if powdery mildew persists and cultural practices alone are ineffective.
Sum It All UP
Maintaining a healthy lawn in Missouri requires vigilance against common lawn fungi. By understanding their symptoms and implementing preventive measures, homeowners can minimize the impact of these issues on their lawns. Regular lawn care practices, proper watering, and good soil management are essential for promoting a resilient and disease-resistant lawn. Remember, when dealing with severe or persistent lawn fungi, it’s best to consult with a local lawn care professional for tailored advice and solutions. Good luck out there!