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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.