Fight Lawn Fungus With These Seven Easy Steps
Discovering damage to your lawn is dismaying, and far too often people jump to conclusions about what is wrong. This leads to the wrong treatment, and things just get worse from there. This happens most often with lawn fungus. Learn how to recognize and treat it with these seven easy steps.
1. Identify: There are many types of lawn fungus. The most obvious is the mushroom; when it appears in a circle, is part of a fairy ring. Yellowing pale green grass with a red/orange powder on the underside of the blades indicates rust. Snow mold looks like white to pink fluff on yellow/brown grass. Brown patch looks exactly like it sounds—a dead spot with only soil showing. Gold colored spots are called dollar spot and will have a reddish border.
2. Remove: Dig out the fungus by taking a core sample a few inches deep. The top layer of dirt will show you the fungal mat and won't look anything like the healthy soil. Replace with good clean earth that's low in organic matter. This doesn't just get rid of the damage, but increases drainage too.
Mushrooms grow in rotting wood, so remove what they are growing in, not just the mushrooms. Remember to discard the matter you remove; don't add it back into your compost. You should also clean your tools with some rubbing alcohol to avoid spreading to other areas.
3. Dethatch: Lawn fungus thrives on dead organic matter, and thatch is exactly that. It should never be more than ½ inch thick. Aerate your lawn thoroughly to bring the thatch level down.
4. Reduce Moisture: This doesn't mean watering less, but watering smarter. Water early in the day so the turf has time to soak it up, and the sun will clear up the dampness clinging to the blades. Mow your grass shorter. This will add to the air and sun that can get through, keeping the surface drier. Lawn fungus loves the moist and damp surface; deprive it of that.
5. Soil Test: Low pH levels and nitrogen levels that are too high are huge factors in fungal growth. Get a soil test done and get those problems fixed. Acidic soils with a pH of 6 or less will not only encourage their growth, it stops a fungicide from working properly!
6. Treatment: Use a fungicide to not only treat the damaged areas, but also the surrounding area. Use a copper-based fungicide, like Soap-Shield. Fixed copper as a fungal treatment is a tried and true method, and this product will decompose over time and feed plants and microbes.
7. Prevent: Keep on top of reducing dampness and increasing air flow. Aerate, rake, dethatch, and water early in the day. Check your grass weekly for trouble spots.
Take the time to identify your grass troubles so you know how to fight them. Keep surface moisture to an absolute minimum. Remove damage & replace with clean soil. Aerate & get rid of thatch. Check your soil's pH & nitrogen levels. Treat with copper-based fungicide. That's the way to fight lawn fungus effectively and keep it away.