The way that you care for your lawn can have a big impact on not only its appearance, but its overall health. Over-watering, under-watering, cutting grass too short, and improperly fertilizing can cause damage or unnecessary stress to your landscape, making it more susceptible to disease.
Learn to recognize the following diseases most common for Orlando lawns, and take the right steps to protect your landscape today.
Brown Patch Fungus
One fungus to watch out for, especially if your lawn is made up of St. Augustine or Zoysia grass, is Brown Patch. Brown Patch typically starts in a small area of grass, turning grass blades yellow, then brown, then straw-colored as they die. Patches typically spread several feet in diameter.
Brown Patch usually emerges after periods of heavy rainfall or when a lawn is being generously over-watered. Your lawn is at risk especially during winter and early spring.
Grey Leaf Spot
Similar to brown patch fungus, grey leaf spot creates rounded patches of dying grass across your lawn. It attacks the top of each blade of grass, leaving small brown spots which may have grey “velvet” growths in the center. As the disease progresses, these spots may become oval-shaped.
Grey leaf weakens your grass, leaving it sparse. It’s most common from early spring to early fall, when humidity is high and rainfall is heavy. Spores can spread easily in the moist Orlando environment.
It may sound like something straight out of a fairytale, but Fairy Ring isn’t something you want taking hold of your backyard.
Fairy Ring is a lawn disease common in Orlando and across Florida. They usually occur year after year, in the same spot. Rings of dark green or dead grass, occasionally with mushrooms in a circle or semi-circle. Your lawn is at the greatest risk of Fairy Ring in hot weather and months with heavy rainfall.
This disease spreads along the root system of your grass, starving it of nitrogen. It also produces mycelium, which are fine white threads that grow on your grass, harden as they die, and eventually kill the grass by preventing water from reaching the roots.
In fact, the signs of Fairy Ring are usually not visible until the disease has been in your soil for two to three years. This is why many homeowners think they’ve resolve the problem, only to find it ravaging their lawns again a few years later.
If you’ve ever noticed small lesions on your grass, you could be seeing the beginning of Dollar Spot. These lesions vary from tan to white.
Dollar Spot appears in circular patches - typically about the size of a silver dollar. These small patches can grow to be very large, killing grass right down the roots.
Dollar Spot starts attacking lawns when humidity is high and temperatures reach above 70 degrees.
Rust Fungus is not only unsightly, but it can make your lawn even more susceptible to other diseases as well. This fungus manifests as a yellow or orange powder, turning your lawn yellow, orange, red, or brown. Depending on the severity of the fungus in your lawn, blades of grass will turn rust-colored, growth will slow, and your lawn will become sparse. Sometimes, blades of grass will shred and droop.
Rust fungus most commonly attacks grass in shady areas that are well-saturated with rain, dew, humidity, or over-watering. It’s especially a risk in early spring to fall, when temperatures are between 60 and 85 degrees.