Necrotic Ring Spot Control

What It Is and What to Do About It?

Nothing says beauty like healthy, lush grass. Beautiful, prolific grass adds color and character to any lawn. From Kentucky Bluegrass, to Tall Fescue, Perennial Rye, and Bentgrass, there many options for lawns in SE Michigan. But just because this grass is beautiful doesn’t mean it’s immune to lawn care issues. Necrotic ring spot is one of the most pervasive and damaging diseases your lawn can face. It is essential that you watch out for the symptoms of this disease and take decisive action whenever you notice them. Only by protecting your lawn diligently can control ring spot and protect your grass.

Necrotic ring spot is a disease caused by the fungus Ophiosphaerella korrae. This fungus spreads through the soil and colonizes the roots of plants. Over time, it eats away at those roots and deprives the plants of moisture and nutrients, causing them to weaken and die. The fungus thrives at temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and can occupy the same patches of your lawn for years at a time.

Necrotic ring spot is named after the large rings of dead or weakened grass that it produces, which can be anywhere from a few inches to several feet in diameter. These rings are yellow, tan, or brown in color, and often look like a donut or the eye of a frog. The longer they are allowed to fester, the more likely it is that the grass inside them will die. Ring spots tend to be most severe in shady parts of your yard, especially if there is a large amount of thatch in the soil.

Besides the rings, you can identify symptoms of this disease by cutting sod patches out of the ground and using a hand lens to examine them. If the fungus is present, it will leave dark threads running along the surface of the root. This method is useful if you’re having trouble telling the difference between ring spot disease and other issues that cause turfgrass to become discolored.

Because necrotic ring spot thrives under certain temperatures, it tends to die down after September, and your grass may recover in the final months of the year. But the disease will still be there in a dormant state and will attack your grass again once the warm weather returns. If you don’t get a handle on it soon, it will cause severe damage to the roots and crowns of your grass, making recovery harder and harder as time goes by. It is thus critical that you take action as soon as possible after you find symptoms of necrotic ring spot.

How Necrotic Ring Spot Disease is Treated

There are three main methods for treating necrotic ring spot outbreaks, each suited to different levels of severity:

    • Physical Removal- For disease outbreaks that are limited to a particular part of your yard, you can get rid of the disease by physically removing the affected grass. Dig down to a depth of at least 6 inches and remove all the grass and soil that the fungus has spread to. You should then dispose of what you’ve taken out in an isolated area and wash the shovel immediately.

 

    • Sulfur Amendments- You can mitigate necrotic ring spot by adding sulfur to the grass, administering it either as elemental sulfur or as part of the fertilizer. The more severe the disease is, the higher the concentration of sulfur you’ll need to administer. Once you’ve spread it over the lawn, you need to water it in so that it does not damage the leaves.

 

    • Fungicides- For the most severe infections, you may need to kill the disease with a fungicide. It’s usually necessary to apply fungicides at least once every two weeks during a season. Typically, you’ll need a professional to administer them.

 

Besides treating the disease, you can lower the likelihood of an outbreak in the first place through proper lawn care. By dethatching and aerating your lawn on a regular basis, you make it harder for the fungus to spread. It’s also important to water, mow, and fertilize your lawn sufficiently, but not excessively; too much water or fertilizer containing nitrogen helps the disease grow. You should also avoid watering your lawn at night.

Lush Lawn Application Programs

Lush Lawn takes a holistic approach to necrotic ring spot control. When you request our assistance, we determine the severity of the infection and then decide whether removal, sulfur, or fungicide is the most effective way to deal with it. We also provide aeration, dethatching, and other lawn control services to keep the odds of an outbreak to a minimum. Contact Lush Lawn today for a free estimate on safeguarding your lawn from necrotic ring spot.

Controlling Red Thread In Lawns

What Is Red Thread Disease?

When it comes to keeping lawns in good condition, disease control is every bit as important as watering and fertilization — but not all grasses are vulnerable to the same diseases. In the case of yards lined with Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, bentgrass or red fescue, there is an increased risk of infection of a particularly dangerous lawn disease: red thread.

Named after the red fibers it leaves behind on infected grass, red thread disease, or red thread fungus, is a common lawn disease caused by Laetisaria fuciformis — a fungus that thrives on grass weakened by a lack of nutrients. More specifically, red thread disease most often attacks grass that lacks a sufficient amount of nitrogen and subsequently isn’t strong enough to defend itself against the lawn fungus.

What Are the Symptoms of Red Thread Disease?

Red thread disease is typically identified by the colored threads for which it’s named:

  • When red thread disease infects a lawn, it weaves pink or red fibers around the stems and leaves of plants.
  • As the lawn disease becomes more severe, the red thread fungus fibers grow, forming circular clumps that range anywhere from 4 inches to 8 inches in diameter.

red-thread-lawn

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to mistake red thread disease for other lawn infections that can also leave behind a pink or red mark on grass. (Pink patch disease and pink snow mold are two examples.)

From a visual standpoint, the difference between red thread disease and these alternatives is that red thread disease leaves fibers in the grass while the others do not. Upon a closer look at the infected areas, you can tell the difference between these lawn diseases, which is critical to taking the right steps to ensure proper treatment.

Different Ways to Treat Red Thread In Lawns

There are two primary ways to treat red thread disease — and it depends primarily on the severity of the infection when treatment is applied:

  • Relatively minor infections: Treating red thread fungus may only be a matter of fertilizing and aerating your lawn more effectively. Adding nitrogen back into soil in the spring and early summer can reduce or eliminate the threat of red thread disease, while aeration can loosen the soil to help nutrients like nitrogen more easily reach grass roots.
  • More severe infections: It’s likely that a fungicide will need to be applied to curb the spread of the disease.

Our Approach to Controlling Red Thread in Lawns

Lush Lawn has extensive experience dealing with red thread disease, taking every precaution to keep your lawn healthy. Our work begins with assessing the extent of a red thread infection (as well as any other diseases that are harming your lawn’s health).

From the insights we gather, we can determine whether a fungicide is necessary. If that’s the case, we will spray the fungicide quickly and effectively while causing as little disruption as possible to the surrounding environment.

We can also perform aeration and fertilization services to reinforce your lawn’s defense against not only red thread disease but all forms of lawn disease.

Don’t Let Red Thread Disease Disrupt Your Lawn’s Health. Contact Your Local Lush Lawn Branch to Request Our Services.

Photo Credit: Kris Lord, Flickr, CC By 2.0

Dollar Spot Fungus Control

What is Dollar Spot Fungus?

The most serious forms of lawn damage often seem trivial at the start. Dollar spot fungus is a powerful case in point. This infection eats through the blades of your grass all the way to their roots, damaging the lawn so badly that reseeding is often necessary. Yet in its early stages, this fungus looks so harmless that few homeowners even realize they have a problem, making it hard to take action before it is too late. Lush Lawn can identify and eliminate ​lawn fungus as soon as it takes root, keeping your turfgrass healthy for the long haul.

What is Dollar Spot Fungus?

Dollar spot is a fungal infection that affects virtually every variety of grass, including bentgrass. Its name comes from the fact that it initially appears as a circular area of discoloration. This ​brown patch can be anywhere from 1 to 6 inches in diameter but is typically the size of a silver dollar. Over time, the fungus spreads throughout the grass, killing it and leaving spores in the ground that will affect future plants.

Dollar spot fungus is so harmful in part because of its high levels of resilience. During the winter, the lawn disease goes into a dormant state within your turf known as mycelium, allowing it to resist even the most severe cold weather. Then when temperatures climb above 60, it begins to spread again, reaching its peak between 70 and 90 degrees. Even when you have removed infected grass, the fungus can live on in the soil and thatch. Warm days and cool nights are often attributed to dollar spot, as well as low nitrogen levels in your lawn.

How to Identify Dollar Spot Fungus

The most obvious sign of a dollar spot infection is the spots themselves, which appear on areas of the lawn that have been infected. These spots never grow larger than 6 inches, allowing you to distinguish this condition from others that cause larger spots.

In addition to this sign, you should pay attention to individual grass blades. If they have been infected with dollar spot fungus, you will notice small lesions on them, which are brown or red in color and tend to be found near the bottom and top parts of the plant. Any grass that has these lesions has likely been compromised by ​lawn fungus. You should treat them as quickly as possible to prevent the fungus from spreading to other parts of your lawn.

Types of Dollar Spot Fungus Control Treatment

Treating this lawn fungus requires the use of fungicides or chemicals that kill mold on contact. In choosing a fungicide, you should not only look for a product that has as large and quick an impact as possible but also one that the dollar spot is unlikely to become resistant to. Some fungicides, such as boscalid and flutolanil, are highly effective in the short run but have a high resistance risk. This means that dollar spot and other fungi adapt to them and learn how to grow despite treatment. Other products, like chlorothalonil and mancozeb, have low resistance risks but are not very effective in the first place. The best products are those like propiconazole and fludioxonil, which kill fungi quickly without giving them a chance to adapt.

Lush Lawn’s Lawn Treatment Services

Lush Lawn takes advantage of the most potent methods on the market for removing dollar spot. We invest in a range of fungicides that are highly effective but have little risk of resistance, allowing us to clear your yard of ​lawn fungus. We spray the lawn extensively, making sure that all dollar spot is gone. If additional recovery is required for your grass, we also offer services to reseed any areas where your lawn has been compromised. We also offer services to shore up nitrogen fertility, giving your plants the strength they need to resist any future fungus infections.

Don’t leave your lawn vulnerable to dollar spots. For a free estimate on ​lawn care for fungus, contact Lush Lawn today!

Lawn Rust Disease Control

What is Lawn Rust Disease?

Serious lawn damage often starts with relatively minor symptoms, which you may barely notice even as your grass blades are being severely threatened. This is never truer than with lawn rust, a family of fungal diseases that begins with a small change in color. Catching lawn rust early is essential if you want to treat it in time and prevent it from spreading, but that means recognizing its symptoms and learning to look for them. The better you are at identifying and countering rust fungi, the easier it is to keep your turf healthy for the long haul.

What is Lawn Rust?

Lawn rust refers to a family of fungi that attack grass. There are many different species of lawn rust fungi, each of which feeds on a different type of turf. As the name implies, lawn rust causes your turf to change in color, gradually going from green to yellow to dark red and even brown. The darker your turf gets, the further the fungus spores have spread and the more of the plant it has affected.

Rust tends to thrive in relatively moist areas where the days are warm and humid and the nights are cool and dewy. Given the climate of Southeast Michigan, this makes it a serious threat to all lawns in the area. While a wide range of grass species can be affected by it, certain types are particularly vulnerable, especially perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass. Rust is also more common in yards that are overwatered, where the soil has low nutrient levels, or where thatch has been allowed to accumulate around large numbers of plants.

Lawn rust is not necessarily a death sentence for your turf. If you remove it quickly enough and keep your lawn properly nourished and watered, the grass blades should be able to return to full health and thickness within a matter of months. But if you fail to adequately counter lawn rust, it can spread all over your turf and cause serious damage, both directly by eating away at it and indirectly by making it more vulnerable to other threats.

Is Lawn Rust Different from Tree Rust?

Yes and no. Both lawn rust and tree rust are part of the same family of fungi, and they have relatively similar symptoms and effects. But the specific species of fungus that give rise to lawn rust are different than those that cause tree rust. This means that if your trees develop rust, you do not have to worry about it spreading to your lawn or vice versa. You should still watch out for one type of rust when you notice the other, however, since the same moist conditions and temperatures favor the development of both. If you do develop both lawn and tree rust, you’ll have to treat them separately.​

Lush Lawn’s Lawn Rust Treatment

When you report lawn rust, the Lush Lawn team will immediately set to work protecting your yard. Thanks to our experienced lawn care techniques, we can quickly stop the spread of the disease and get your grass back on the road to recovery with:

Fertilization- Lawn rust is often a sign that your grass does not have enough nitrogen, potassium, and other nutrients. By proper fertilizer techniques, your yard and returning these nutrients to the soil, we strengthen your grass and help it recover from the effects of rust.

Thatch Removal- If the soil in your yard is heavily saturated with thatch, it becomes easier for spores to grow and spread through your turf. We remove the thatch and dispose of it in a way that does not expose other grass to the fungus. As a result, the rust will not be able to damage any part of your yard it has not already spread. We also advise you on remove grass blade clippings after mowing your lawn, as these can also help rust spores spread.

Controlled Watering- Lawn rust spores need moisture to grow, meaning that if you overwater the lawn, you increase the chance of infection. We help you determine the proper watering levels for your plants, as well as the right time of day to water.

Fungicides- While changes in your lawn care techniques are usually enough to stop lawn rust, fungicides may be necessary for severe infections. Our team carries the full range of fungicide products and knows how to use them in your yard safely and effectively.

Don’t leave fungus-free to attack your grass. For more information on healing your yard from lawn rust or to request a free estimate on lawn care, contact Lush Lawn today.

Leaf Spot Control

What Is Leaf Spot Disease?

While Michigan’s cool, moist climate supports a variety of plant life, this same environment also nurtures the growth of lawn fungus. Of these types, one of the most devastating and difficult to control is leaf spot fungus.

Leaf spot disease — or melting out disease as it’s sometimes called — is a common lawn disease that is caused by different fungal organisms from the Helminthosporium species. Marked first by leaf damage (spots or blotches to be specific) and then by rotting roots, leaf spot fungus can destroy the health of a wide range of grass varieties if not controlled quickly.

To minimize damage and be able to restore your lawn to its optimal health, it’s critical to recognize the early symptoms of leaf spot disease. That way, you can save your grass before things move beyond repair.

What Are the Symptoms of Leaf Spot Disease?

Leaf Lesions

During the early stages of infection, leaf spot fungus causes circular lesions to appear on grass. These lesions typically start out as tan or brown, but they can eventually become dark brown or black depending on how severe the infection is.

Withering Leaves

If leaf lesions remain on your grass for an extended period of time, the blades will turn yellowish and shrivel. This often gives the appearance of dehydration, which leads homeowners to try watering their lawns more to deal with the issue. While this extra watering fails to relieve the issue (since fungi is the actual cause), it could even lead to the disease spreading further.

Root Rot

Leaf lesions and discoloration occur during the early spring, but as the weather gets warmer, leaf spot fungus will spread to the crowns and roots of grass. The result is a “melting out” phase where turf dies in large patches. If leaf spot disease continues to persist at this point, you may need to replace large portions of your lawn, which of course comes with headaches and cost.

How We Keep Leaf Spot Disease Under Control

As an expert on lawn disease control in Southeast Michigan, Lush Lawn is familiar with leaf spot disease and how to keep it at bay. Our services combine preventative and restorative measures.

Fertilization & Aeration

When we fertilize lawns, we do so carefully to make sure that enough nutrients are administered without providing so much as to feed leaf spot infections. As we add nitrogen to your turf to fuel healthy growth and control leaf spot disease, we use core aeration to loosen up the soil and reduce thatch on your turf so it’s harder for leaf spot fungus to spread.

Strategic Lawn Watering

How you water your lawn affects the way in which leaf spot fungus spreads. With this in mind, we evaluate grass in detail and determine exactly when and how much to water it. Typically, lawns should be watered once a week so the soil is soaked at least 6 inches through. These waterings should take place in the early morning so the water does not nourish the fungus.

Fungicide Application

If leaf spot disease has already reached your yard, we can get rid of it through a series of strategic fungicide applications. We make sure to apply fungicide treatments as quickly as possible in order to stop leaf spot fungus before it reaches the melting out phase. In the case of especially severe infections, fungicides are applied several times until we’re sure the leaf spot disease is eliminated.

Don’t Let Leaf Spot Disease Disrupt Your Lawn’s Health. Contact Your Local Lush Lawn Branch to Request Our Services.

Snow Mold Control

What is Snow Mold?

As a responsible homeowner who cares for your lawn, you likely finished last year with vibrant grass that was well prepared to weather the winter. Yet no matter how good a job you did protect your lawn at the time, there is always a risk that new diseases will spread through and damage your lawn as soon as the warm weather returns.

Certain diseases can even develop in the dead of winter. Chief among these cold weather catastrophes is snow mold, a fungal infection that grows under the extremely low temperatures that Michigan is known for. By recognizing snow mold and taking the proper precautions against it, you can keep your lawn healthy throughout the winter and the rest of the year.

Snow mold refers to two distinct diseases, each of which can threaten your lawn in different ways. One is gray mold, which attacks the blades of your grass without causing much damage to the underlying roots. Pink mold is more severe, attacking the entire plant and causing harm that is harder to reverse.

Both gray and pink snow mold survive the summer as dormant sclerotia, allowing them to resist high temperatures with ease. Then when temperatures drop down to winter levels, they begin to spread across your yard. They leave circular patches that are the color of straw, which grow larger for as long as the turf remains cool and wet. Inside the patches, the grass will appear matted, and you will notice a colorful fungal growth on top of them.

While pink and gray snow mold mostly appears the same, they have a key visible difference: gray snow mold causes hard growths to develop on the crowns and leaves of the grass it attacks. Looking out for these growths is essential, as pink snow mold is far more damaging than gray snow mold. Thus while you should always be concerned about a snow mold infestation, you should be especially worried if that infestation does not produce any hard growths.

How Lush Lawn Treatments Control Snow Mold

Lush Lawn tailors our snow mold treatments to the severity of the infestation. For relatively minor snow mold problems, you can usually get rid of the fungus by gently raking the grass in your yard, without alerting us. This will eliminate it while causing as little damage as possible to the surrounding environment and leaving your turf free to keep growing.

For more severe snow mold problems, Lush Lawn will apply a fungicide to the area. Designed to kill the fungus while causing minimal damage to the rest of your turf, these products are most effective if applied in October and November.

Besides eliminating current infestations, Lush Lawn can also make a snow mold issue less likely to arise in the first place. We do this by carefully measuring the amount of nitrogen fertilizer we apply, as excessive nitrogen makes mold more likely to grow. Likewise, we can cut the grass throughout the growing season and get rid of any dead blades, leaves, and other plant debris. Finally, we aerate the soil, preventing thatch from becoming too thick and harboring mold. All of these steps prevent mold infections from starting and help keep them under control when they do happen.

When Does Snow Mold Occur?

Snow mold tends to begin growing in the winter and becomes apparent at the start of the summer after the snow cover has fully melted away. It is most likely to arise if the first snow comes early in the year and covers the ground completely. When this happens, you should be especially vigilant about mold. You can reduce its chances of growing by spreading the snow out so that it melts more quickly.

For more information on snow mold prevention and management or to get a free estimate for your yard, contact Lush Lawn today.