Understanding Lawn Disease

Every lawn in Georgia, new or established, is susceptible to a variety of disease. Promoting healthy growth is the best way to prevent a severe disease outbreak. Most common lawn diseases can be avoided by optimizing mowing and watering practices. Stressed grass is much more susceptible to disease than healthy grass.

The fungus that causes lawn disease is in the soil. You cannot eliminate this fungus; it is always there. However, infection will not occur unless the environmental conditions are conducive to disease development. The first thing you should do is determine what conditions are causing the disease and if you can control them.

Watering, Mowing, and Proper Nutrition

These three aspects of lawn care are essential to the health of your lawn, and thankfully they are measures that can be controlled. A lawn should be watered regularly during the warm months, and less so during the cooler months. Water should be given enough time to be absorbed into the soil – and if the soil is having trouble taking that water in, it may be time to aerate. Test your soil to ensure that there is enough nutrition present for grass to thrive on and be sure to mow regularly to ensure the grass stays at the ideal length.

Common Types of Fungus

Dollar Spots

This fungal infection can be identified as clusters of brown patches in the grass, all about the size of silver dollars. This fungal infection is often brought about by mowing too closely, which can cause grass leaves to hold on to too much moisture. It can also be caused by a lack of nutrition, or by too many wet leaves on the grass. Make sure your soil has plenty of nutrients and be sure to rake often.

Brown Patch

You may notice this fungus during the warmer, more humid months of the year. If your lawn has been over-fertilized just before a humid spell, it may be time to treat the area with fungicide. Brown patch disease is characterized by an otherwise green lawn seeming to develop yellow patches overnight, which then turn brown.


Rust Fungus on lawns tends to crop up during the late summer or early fall, as growth begins to slow down. If you begin to notice yellowish spots on grass blades that begin to turn a reddish, rusty color, pull a few out and examine them closely. Grass with rust fungus will be made thin and weak, and the rusty spores on the grass blade can be easily wiped off with a finger. Mow your lawn frequently to keep its height consistent and be sure to wash off any lawn tools after using them to prevent the spread of the disease. In most cases, rust fungus does not require fungicides.

Pythium Blight

Pythium blight can present as circular patches that can grow to a foot in diameter, or even take on black or purple spots on some grasses. This disease can cause grass leaves to turn orange or dark gray and may look greasy and matted. This fungal disease has huge potential to spread quickly when the weather is right, so fungicide may be necessary. Be sure to water early in the morning to keep the leaves of the grass from staying wet for too long. Grass suffering from this disease should not be mowed or irrigated until it is cleared up, as mowing can lead to further spread.

Spring Dead Spot

Spring Dead Spot disease can cause large spots in the grass which can leave room open for weeds to take root, and for winter to damage grass beyond repair. This fungal disease can take a long time to develop, and does not directly kill the grass, but it is essential that it is treated to prevent further damage. To prevent Spring Dead Spot, be sure to fertilize only enough to keep the grass nourished, but not too much. This fungus builds up in the presence of an overabundance of nitrogen. Aerating soils affected with Spring Dead Spot three times or more per year can help to alleviate the disease.

Lawn Care New Years Resolutions - A Lawn Care Cale...
Leaf-Cycling and Leaf Removal for a Healthy Lawn