Basic Things You Need To Know About Common Lawn Diseases

Basic Things You Need To Know About Common Lawn Diseases

Have you checked out your lawn lately? It may seem okay at a glance but if you look closer there might be something more going on there than meets the eye. You have a good variety of plants growing together and everything seems right in the world. Next thing you know, lawn disease problems take hold and begin to spread before you even notice they’re happening. It can be frustrating to watch your well-cared-for lawn fall victim to the disease. All that hard work down the drain!

Lawn disease can be a real challenge. If left untreated, it can pose a problem and make your lawn look unhealthy with dead or patchy spots. Even when you give your lawn great care, the grass can still become infected. It is important to make time to assess the state of your lawn so you know what needs to be done or if you see any indicator that disease is about to wreak havoc on the grass. The right lawn care practices can go a long way to prevention and treatment.

Lawn fungal diseases take on a variety of forms. Once these diseases strike your yard, it can be quite difficult to treat. Arm yourself with the right information and get to know these common lawn diseases and how to treat them.

Common lawn diseases

Fungal diseases target specific lawn types and at certain times of the year under certain conditions.

Brown patch

Round patches of turf up to several feet in diameter. Grass blades darken, wilt and die and a dark gray smoke ring is sometimes visible on lower mowed turf. During spring and fall, warm to hot weather conditions set the stage for disease. Wet leaves, high humidity, over fertilizing and excess water are some of the factors that cause the spread.

Dollar spot

Tends to come up when nights are cool and heavy dew is present.

Fairy ring

Complete or incomplete arcs of mushrooms. Naturally occurring but doesn’t cause widespread damage.

Gray leaf spot

Irregular patches develop and join together to form large areas of damage. Grass blades develop small, bleached-out spots with dark brown edges.


The disease appears as small, reddish spots on the leaves. Susceptible to this disease are bluegrass varieties (Merion/Kentucky).

Snow mold

Grayish white patches which appear in the early spring as the snow melts; grass blades collapsed and matted. Caused when there is an extended period of snow that’s not fully frozen covering the ground.

Summer patch

Form of irregular brown patches, rings, and crescent shapes. Usually appears between June and September, during periods of high humidity.


Fungi and spores are naturally found in your lawn. Some are harmless and some can become problematic given the right conditions for it to break out into a harmful disease. Here are a few causes:

  • Improper mowing
  • Overwatering
  • Too much fertilizer or using the wrong kind
  • Wrong grass type
  • Weather conditions
  • Drought

Prevention and solution

It’s good advice to get to the problem at first sight before things get ugly.

  • Regular soil testing (soil PH)
  • Fertilize properly
  • Water/irrigate strategically
  • Follow good mowing practices
  • Allow air to circulate all over your lawn
  • Control severe infestations with the right pesticide

The old adage “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” applies to things that need constant care and maintenance. And that includes your lawn!

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