Should Fungicides be Used on Your Lawn?

Fungicides (disease control) can save the day, but shouldn’t be the answer for winter lawn problems. Lawn fungicides are expensive and may only stop the symptoms such as browning, but not get rid of them. In addition, they only last for 14 days. Here are some common lawn diseases and tips on how to maintain a beautiful lawn all year round without fungicides.

Snow Mold

When the ground is warm and snow covers it, the moist lawn conditions may cause the growth of snow mold. The term “snow mold” covers several different types of fungal diseases formed by snow falling on a warm-temperature lawn.

At the start of spring, the lawn will have pink or gray colored patches that appear crusty or fuzzy. The best way to prevent snow mold is by implementing a lawn care program that includes having your lawn professionally mowed and aerated.

Most importantly, avoid walking on grass while the ground is frozen. This will crack the crowns of grass blades, weakening grass and promoting this disease.

Red Thread

Red thread can occur under the same wintery conditions as snow mold. Pink or red thread-like patches indicate a low nitrogen level in the soil. An effective remedy is a fertilizer, not necessarily a lawn fungicide. This disease can persist in New Jersey even in May.

Brown Patch

Brown patch is used interchangeably with the term “large patch” because the diseased lawn appears as patches that can spread to 12 feet wide or larger. Typically, brown patches will extend to 3 feet though.

This disease will thrive with high heat and humidity, but can easily be prevented with the proper lawn care program. Avoid high nitrogen applications and consider core aeration at the end of the summer to prevent issues in future years.

Effective treatment and prevention of brown patches depend on the type of grass you have. A lawn disease control expert can help you identify the lawn species.

Dollar Spot

Dollar spot may be one of the most common diseases in New Jersey, if the lawn is not properly maintained. Dollar spot can happen in the spring, summer and fall, which is why this fungus is prevalent. The main cause of this disease is moisture. In the morning, in the center of this dollar-shaped brown circles, you’ll notice a cotton-like substance, mycelium.
Like most diseases, proper lawn fertilization and maintenance should prevent this fungus.

Powdery Mildew

Cloudy days happen most often in the winter season. This is when powdery mildew (PM) can form on your lawn. The dusty-looking substance is visible on blades of grass. Ensure that your grass has the proper air circulation throughout the year.

Leaf Spot

Leaf spot, also called melting-out, can start in the spring and persist throughout the summer. Raise lawn mower blades, reduce moisture and have a sufficient lawn care program to avoid this disease. A good idea is to have an experienced lawn care team add cultivars of grass when seeding that are leaf-spot resistant.

So, Should Fungicides be Used?

The answer should be addressing the factors that cause turf disease. Adjust the grass-watering schedule, test your soil, make sure the lawn is being mowed at least 3 inches tall, adopt a good fertilizing program, and core aerate. Using the right grass seed is also a factor, but at this point, you may be working with what you already have available. If factors aren’t addressed in a committed lawn care program, the disease will come back every year.

Call on the Knowledgeable Experts in Lawn Care

Why waste money on lawn fungicides when the factors to prevent the disease are also required to have a beautiful lawn? If the lawn is beautiful already, it probably won’t stay that way if these factors aren’t dealt with in a customized lawn care program.

You have access to an enthusiastic, skilled lawn care team that’s ready to help you get your lawn in tip-top shape! Dirt & Turf has affordable and proven solutions in lawn disease control. Contact us today for a free estimate!