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.
Fireweed is a nuisance weed that pops up every spring in Georgia. This rapidly growing weed has a shallow root system and germinates in the thatch layer of lawns. Although easily controlled by post-emergent herbicide treatments, pre-emergent treatments have no effect on this invasive weed. Proper lawn maintenance practices provide the most effective means of control. Weekly mowing with a sharp mower blade at the proper mowing height will minimize Fireweed infestations. Managing your thatch layer is also important. Compacted soil and improper mowing practices can lead to excessive thatch. Spring core aeration will relieve compaction and help manage your thatch layer.
Although warm season lawns are somewhat tolerant of the summer heat, cool season lawns can struggle with the heat, humidity, and periods of drought. Since Fescue lawns cannot spread and repair themselves like warm season lawns, they must be aerated and over-seeded to thicken and repair damaged areas.
Proper water techniques are often misunderstood. As a general guideline, lawns only need 1″ to 1.5″ inches of water per week. It's best to water 1 to 2 times per week early in the morning to achieve this goal. Watering for a longer period of time less frequently soaking the soil to a 6″ to 8″ depth will promote a deeper root system and improve drought tolerance. Short frequent watering will cause shallow rooting. Shallow rooting will lead to poor drought tolerance and increase disease susceptibility. Its best to water your lawn and landscape plants early in the morning before the sun rises. This will allow time for the water to soak into the soil before evaporation can occur.