Just because we don’t have the same type of winter weather as Northern Minnesota, doesn’t mean that our Texas lawns don’t go through its own winter trials and tribulations. Lawn diseases brought on by the cool weather, stressed out lawn, and damp conditions can wreak havoc on our Texas turf. Here are some of the common Texas lawn diseases to watch for in the winter and spring.
Dollar spot is first on our list of common Texas lawn diseases. It’s especially common in the spring when temperatures during the day start to get warmer and more humid, but temperatures at night remain cool. The heavier the dew means dollar spot and other lawn diseases are more likely to form. Dollar spot looks like small circular patches of white, tan, straw-colored, or bleached-looking grass. These circles are only about the size of a silver dollar (thus the name) but can merge together and form large patches.
Watch for dollar spot as early as February and keep watching for early signs into the late spring. Dollar spot is a year-round fungus that can really attack your lawn any time of the year, as long as the conditions are right.
Brown patch is another common Texas lawn disease affecting our grass this time of year. This lawn disease appears exactly as it sounds; in the form of large brown patches of weakened grass. Brown patch severely affects the grass, causing the overall decline of the health of your lawn and leaving it open to weeds, diseases, and pests. This fungal lawn infection affects all grass types here in Texas, no lawn is safe.
Brown patch is worse for the lawn in the early spring, as the grass comes out of dormancy and prepares for its spring growth. Cool and wet weather are the biggest causes of brown patch. If you start to see brown patch in your lawn, refrain from irrigating those areas. Allow the area to dry out. You may even want to aerate it to increase drainage and boost overall health.
Large patch is very similar to brown patch. In fact, until very recently, large patch and brown patch were considered the same disease. Now we know that large patch only affects warm-season grasses whereas brown patch affects all grass types. Large patch is similar to brown patch in that it comes in the form of large patches of large, irregular patches of discolored grass. These patches can get as large as 25 feet in diameter and survive in the layer of thatch all year long. If you have grass types like zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, or buffalograss, then keep an eye on your lawn for the early signs.
Good ways to prevent large patch include aeration, proper mowing, proper fertilization, and smart irrigation. Aeration helps break up excess thatch and improve drainage throughout your Texas lawn. Proper mowing is essential because shorter grass is more susceptible to large patch. Over-fertilization in the fall can lead to some nasty fungal growth in the lawn. Over-irrigation creates the perfect environment for fungus like large patch to grow.
Fairy ring is a common Texas lawn disease that really comes out in the spring. This strange-looking fungus can affect the lawn in a few different ways. The most common signs are large circles or arcs of dark green or dying grass. Around these circles or arcs is a ring of dark green grass. One symptom, inspiring the name, is a ring of mushrooms or puffballs around the circles of grass. The worst part about fairy ring is that it causes the affected area to repel water. This is called hydrophobic. Because the soil and plants are hydrophobic, they can’t absorb water. Eventually, it dries up and dies.
Fairy ring is a common Texas lawn disease in the spring and can cause a lot of damage if not treated. It also comes back every year, bigger than the year before. Fairy ring has been known to grow over 100 feet in diameter. Treat the affected area with aeration to allow water to reach the grass roots. Prevention is the best course of action. Keep your lawn healthy throughout the year with proper fertilization and maintenance.
Keeping your lawn safe against these common Texas lawn diseases is essential and best left to the professionals. Here at Gro Lawn, we know Texas lawns. Our lawn care program and aeration services are specifically designed to offer Texas turf everything it needs during the year.
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