Lawn Disease occurs when the lawn sward or root structure becomes affected by fungus pathogens which cause deterioration to the grass plant.
There are many types of lawn disease but the most common in UK lawns are Red Thread, Fusarium, Snow Mould, Fairy Rings and Dry Patch.
How can I identify a lawn disease?
Some lawn diseases appear very similar and can be tricky to identify depending on the severity and stage of the problem and professional analysis may be required.
Fusarium & Snow Mould
Fusarium and Snow Mould are essentially the same but the latter forms quickly under a blanket of snow. Damage is only evident once the snow melts by which point it is usually too late to treat the area. Patches that do not recover will need to be re-seeded or turfed. Fusarium tends to attack lawns during the late autumn through to the spring. Control by fungicide is difficult unless the problem is diagnosed in the early stages. Any dead patches should be repaired by seeding or turfing.
Fairy Rings are similar to Dry Patch in the way that the fungus forms in the soil, even though the surface appearance is different. Fairy Rings are usually caused by decaying organic matter in the soil such as old tree roots, etc. Fairy Rings also produce toadstools which appear at certain times of the year.
Fairy Rings can be treated with fungicides and wetting agents, as with Dry Patch, but it is unlikely to be successful. Unfortunately, the only alternative is to excavate and remove the soil in the infected area up to 450mm deep and to replace the soil before re-seeding or turfing.
How effective are fungicide treatments?
There is no permanent cure for lawn diseases but some can be controlled or prevented by modern fungicides. In most lawn environments, good horticultural practices can prevent severe fungal attack or long term problems. Sports turf and intensively managed grass areas may require a regular fungicide programme to prevent disease outbreak.
Red Thread/Pink Patch
Red Thread is the most common lawn disease in the UK. Thankfully the disease is not too serious as it rarely kills the root system of the grass plants. Recovery usually happens naturally without too much intervention but it can look very unsightly for several weeks during an outbreak. This disease can be identified during the early stages by a tiny pink fungus which forms on the leaf of the plant and then causes the leaf to turn a bleached colour in the latter stages. Small or large areas of lawn can be affected. Red Thread can happen at any time of the year but certain weather patterns tend to trigger outbreaks.
- Lawns grown on inert soils or soils with low nutrient capacity are often worst affected and some varieties of grass are more susceptible than others.
- Modern fungicides can stop the fungus from spreading and will protect against attack for a limited period of time.
- Regular aeration, nutrient control and soil improvement may help in the longer term.
Dry Patch is a condition which causes the soil under the lawn surface to become hydrophobic. When this happens, the areas of the lawn affected dry out and turn brown because the soil is unable to absorb enough moisture to
keep the grass plant healthy.
How should fungicide treatments be carried out?
Fungicide applications are carried out by a NPTC (National Proficiency Testing Council) qualified technician.
Health & Safety regarding disease treatment
All the fungicide products that Lawntech uses are labelled as suitable for amenity use.