In April, discussions of extreme drought and the need for water were rampant; especially talk about stressed areas of turf that were browning rapidly.
Fortunately, heavy rains came, put an end to the drought, and most lawns recovered nicely.
So, what are these new brown patches on some lawns?
The answer is Red Thread and Pink Patch.
These diseases occur during cool, wet weather and heavy dews, all of which there has been plenty of over the last month. As fungicides are typically not needed to cure these lawn ailments, fertilization will help "flush out" out the brown spots and a lawn will recover.
It is also important to be mindful of the duration of watering, the longer the better. Too much short duration watering may promote more disease. From now, through summer, a lawn should receive two to three deep soakings per week, but be careful not to over water during high humidity, daytime and early evening.
Often, the home owner will water when any sign of browning is present in the lawn. It is important to differentiate between drought stress (needing water) and disease (hold back on watering). For drought stress, dig into the soil and one will notice very dry soil. For disease stress, the blade of the grass will show signs of disease. Close observation of the blade will show a pink-colored cotton for pink patch, and a reddish thread for red thread.
There are many other diseases to watch for during the summer months that can be injurious to a lawn such as brown patch, leaf spot, dollar spot and pythium. Research these diseases on the Internet and learn about them before deciding water is the best solution every time one sees browning in a lawn.
Other tips for reducing disease include:
- Maintain soil pH between 6.0 and 6.8.
- Maintain balanced fertility of NPK.
- Keep mower blades sharp to minimize leaf wounds.
- Aerate a lawn if thatch layer is 1/2” or more.
- Pickup grass clippings during mowing when disease is present.