Do you observe patches in your grass lawn where the grass is dormant to grow? Then most probably it is a fungal infection taking place in your lawn which maybe you are unaware of.
To treat lawn fungus naturally, you can take baking soda mix with water and spray twice a week in the lawn or you can use neem oil which works as a fungicide in the lawn which can be sprayed once a week or twice a month. There are other ways like spraying milk and water mixture, which is also an organic and natural way to eliminate fungus from your lawn.
Now you know what are the natural ways but there are some other things that you need to know like how to identify the fungus and cure them according to type. What are the causes that result in fungal colonization? Let’s discuss these in detail.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF FUNGAL INFECTION?
One of the most common reasons can be that you are mowing your grass too low. Other reasons include variation in temperature and humidity, drought, compacted soil in your field, wrong grass type, overfeeding, and using too many fertilizers can result in such conditions.
Let us see how we can make sure if it’s a fungus occupying your lawn.
HOW TO IDENTIFY FUNGAL INFECTION?
- Decolorization of grass at certain places
- Brown Patches or colonies observed
- Powdery or threadlike coatings on a leaf or stem blades
- Dead and rough grass
- Enhanced rings and spots
- Various colors association visible
Now let us see specifics about identifying the patches and the fungus associated with them. We will talk here about the most commonly observed fungus that you can observe easily.
- Brown patches
- Dollar spot
- Gray spot
- Slime mold
- Snow mold
- Rust disease
- Red Thread
Brown patches can occur when the weather is too hot, warm, and humid. Obviously, it’s not in our hands to control the weather. Therefore brown patches are the most easily observed fungus in the lawn. It mostly occurs as irregular patches.
The causative organ is Rhizoctonia fungi and they can spread very easily up to 3 feet wide. This can be easily seen in cool-season grasses such as Tall fescue, Perennial ryegrass, Bentgrasses, Kentucky Bluegrass, St. Augustine grass.
The patches on the outside appear darker than the inside patches. Also with St.Augustine, they may appear as yellow rings from outside. Brown patches thrive at a peak when evening temperature roams around the temperature of 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
To avoid them, don’t over-fertilize or overwater your lawn frequently. Also, don’t use fungicide in high turfs as it may recover on its own with proper care of the lawn.
Dollar spot is also one of the broad category fungal diseases occurring in lawns. They occur when nights are cool and dew is heavy. They are mostly known to occur in early springs and are known to thrive when the conditions favor high humidity and temperature falls in the range of 59-86 degrees Fahrenheit.
The causative organ is a fungus from the genus Clarireedia. They appear as round straw-colored sunken spots which do not affect crown or roots but are only known for blighting leaves fall. They are known mostly in closely associated turfs such as creeping bentgrass, annual bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and zoysia grass.
You can easily distinguish them from other spots with a light lesion and a brown bordered pit on leaves. You can prevent them from growing by decreasing dew and leaf wetness. Regular aeration in the expected season can also aid a lot.
Gray leaf spot is a commonly seen disease in St. Augustinegrass, but it has already recently spread to annual ryegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue. It can ruin a great-looking yard in no time, so quick detection is critical.
It is caused by the fungus Pyricularia grisea. They are known to thrive when gray patches and necrotic leaf spots are observed. The major cause behind its formation is moisture. Therefore when the grass does not wipe out dry completely, such fungal diseases are known to develop.
Wet areas are usually known to generate slime moulds in the grass. Fungi of genera Matlaga and Physarum are known as the most causative agents responsible for the outgrowth of slime mold. They belong to the group of saprophytes (organisms that grow and benefit from living organisms) and are known to obtain nutrition from grass.
Though slime mold may not affect grass much, if the appearance of your lawn deteriorates then you can remove them by simply mowing or scratching molds physically can be beneficial too. Also using products like sodium bicarbonate, baking soda, cornmeal, cornmeal tea, and hydrogen peroxide can be useful in the prevention of slime molds.
Slime moulds are usually known to grow in the same space as the previous cycle.
Snow Moulds are usually known to appear in spring when snow initiates melting and exposes grass to cool and wet temperatures. It can be gray, pink, or straw-colored depending on the area and type of fungi. They form white or pink circular patches affecting the grass turning them into matted and crusty material.
Most commonly you will be able to suspect it in the structure of the web holding the grass.
The most common way of eradicating snow mold is to mix baking soda with one gallon of water and spread it on affected areas twice a week. Otherwise, the grass will recover naturally in the warm weeks of spring weather.
Rust disease is caused by a fungus belonging to the order Pucciniales and Division Basidiomycetes. Rust diseases are known to have been caused by more than 7000 species out of which most of them belong to the genus Puccinia. They only affect living plants and grow in limited regions such as stems, tendrils, petioles, fruits, etc.
The best way to identify rust is by observing and looking for yellow or white chlorotic spots on leaves. They can also occur sometimes under the leaves in the form of orange swellings.
Removing rust is a difficult task once it invades the plants. Therefore fungicides such as Mancozeb can be used to treat them. Some of the organic solutions such as sulfur powder are known to stop spore germination. Providing your lawn a better standard of hygiene, precise watering, and a good soil drainage system can help you prevent them from invading your plants.
Red thread disease is caused by the corticoid fungus Laetisaria fuciformis. They are known to grow in cool and wet conditions. The optimum temperature lies between 50-77 degrees Fahrenheit. The fungal growth decreases above the range of 77 degrees Fahrenheit and ceases at around 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
The initial signs of red thread are small irregular patches of brown and yellow patches of grass which later turn into red thread or needles occupying blades and not roots.
The most effective way to prevent red thread is to provide adequate amounts of nitrogen to your plants. Using fertilizers is not recommended as they are costly. The red thread is known to recover on its own after a certain time. We have a full guide on Red thread disease in the lawn.
NATURAL WAYS TO CONTROL FUNGUS IN YOUR LAWN
There are several ways you can eliminate fungus in the lawn, either you can go with baking soda or with neem oil or you can also use milk.
- Baking soda – the best natural and effective way to eliminate fungicide in the lawn is to apply a baking soda solution. When baking soda is sprayed on the lawn, the soda disrupts the balance of the ions in the fungal cells which eliminates fungus from the lawn. Baking soda also eliminates fungus by leaving alkaline residues on the surface of the plant. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda in one gallon of water and spray the solution twice a week in the lawn.
- Neem oil – neem oil as the name suggest comes from the neem tree. Neem oil contains lots of essential nutrients and supplements which kills the fungicide in the lawn. Neem oil contains azadirachtin which acts as an insect repellent. Pour 5ml neem oil in one gallon water and spray it in the lawn once a week. Neem oil every month in the lawn will also helps the lawn to be healthy.
- Milk – normal milk mixed with water sprayed in the lawn can also be very effective to kill all the fungus in the lawn as milk contains amino acids and salts which kills and controls the fungus in the lawn. Take milk and water in the ratio of 1:9 and spray the solution once a month in the lawn.
COMMON WAYS TO PREVENT FUNGUS IN YOUR LAWN
- Proper watering: The most common reason for the occupancy of fungus in your lawn is watering errors. Excessive watering can result in the retainment of moisture which allows the fungus to pave its way very easily in your lawn. So don’t over hydrate your plants or lawn as it may lead to excessive fungus growth. Water early in the morning to let it absorb and dry throughout the day.
- Soil drainage system: There must be a proper setup of soil drainage system to avoid over-accumulation of nutrients and minerals. It helps the plant to avoid toxicity and excess moisture.
- Soil pH: You should always try to maintain a basic pH of your soil to avoid fungal diseases. Do a soil test at regular intervals to know the condition of the soil and prevent upcoming diseases.
- Better Aeration: This step is a must while maintaining your lawn and practicing standard hygiene. Most people tend to ignore better aeration which piles up the soil at a single place causing moisture.
- Cleansing your lawn tools frequently: Practicing good hygiene on your lawn materials and tools can be a strong deal maker to prevent the spreading of diseases in your lawn; as fungal spores take a bit milliseconds to spread over.
- Do a check regularly: You can easily prevent a fungal infection from multiplying at an initial stage by checking your lawns at regular intervals. Learn what kind of symptoms and diseases can be easily viable in your lawns and plants.
- Mowing: Mow your plants according to the heights recommended and don’t mow too low. Observe the growth of your lawn and do it dependent on your lawn growth rather than looking up to the calendar and seasons.
- Role of nitrogen: In most fungal diseases, nitrogen deficiency plays an important role. Therefore provide your plant with nitrogen fertilizers after catching symptoms of fungal disease. Nitrogen is the most needed macronutrient in plants.
- Lawn care: Hire a caretaker or look after your lawn frequently with proper knowledge of your lawn. It is easy to take checks frequently rather than treating a whole lawn with diseases.
- Don’t use fertilizer until needed: You should not be applying fertilizers until recommended as most of the fungal diseases recover on their own.
I hope we are able to cover the most common diseases that might invade your lawn. But don’t worry they are not a big deal to handle if you have a proper source providing you with what you need. Check out our other gardening articles to make gardening easy for you. GET SET GARDENING!