The best way to keep a disease from affecting your lawn is by maintaining a healthy, fertilized lawn and by avoiding conditions that can stress the grass such as improper watering or incorrect mowing. Elk Creek technicians are trained to identify, treat and give recommendations for any lawn disease in the Front Range area. Colorado’s common turf disease are all fungal diseases and can do a varying degree of damage to the lawn. A variety of treatments are available to control the different diseases and sometimes chemical control is unnecessary. Please do not misdiagnose or mistreat your lawn for a condition that you are unsure of, contact Elk Creek and we will get to the root of the problem.
Common Front Range turf diseases:
Powdery Mildew will be found on shady areas with poor air circulation which allows moisture to stay on the grass blade for extended periods. This fungus will appear on grass blades as a white talcum like powdery substance. Once again chemical control is not recommended for this fungus as it will not kill an established blue grass lawn. A light raking or sweeping of grass blades on affected areas will permit the lawn to dry out while removing the mildew. In some instances in areas of excessive Powdery Mildew, A thinning out of nearby shrubs may be needed to promote air circulation.
See our Colorado Lawn Health Care Calendar for the best maintenance schedule.
Fairy Ring can be caused by many different fungi and there are three distinctive types that affect the lawn differently. The fungi create rings in the lawn that can range from just a few inches to yards in diameter. This disease is caused by decaying organic material from tree roots, excessive thatch and buried organic materials. Depending on the type of Fairy Ring common, it can appear as a thin dead circle, a vigorously growing dark green ring, or a ring of mushrooms. Chemical controls are generally not effective and it is best treated with a change in cultural practices.
Ascochyta Leaf Blight is a common turf disease in Colorado and generally occurs after prolonged wet periods in the spring and early summer followed by intense warm sunshine. Grass blades will begin to die back from the tip creating a candlewick appearance and affected areas will begin to turn straw colored. Bluegrass crowns and roots are not usually killed as the blighting is restricted to the grass blade. Ascochyta is best managed through proper cultural practices as fungicides can be costly, hard to time and are generally not that affective. In some instances Elk Creek will treat the lawn with Revive to promote new growth in affected areas and can reseed extremely thin areas.
Leaf Spot and Melting Out Disease are caused by two different fungi though they often occur at the same time on turf stressed by excessive nitrogen, overly watered and on lawns that are mowed too short. Leaf Spot appears as purple to dark brown spots on the blade and are elliptical in shape. Melting Out Disease also begins as spots on the leaves but can rapidly move down the sheath into the crown and roots where in can kill the grass. Affected areas of the lawn appear yellow and thin with irregular patches of dead turf. Once again, it is not recommended that fungicides be used to treat these diseases except in the most extreme instances and a change in cultural practices is needed.
Dollar Spot is a fungi that affects all of the common Colorado varieties of turf grass. Although it is named for the silver dollar sized spots that it causes on bent grass putting greens, it often appears as larger areas on a lawn. Dollar spot cause a white or straw colored lesion generally in the middle of the grass blade creating an hour glass appearance. It is most active during periods of high temperatures and high humidity with moisture remaining on the blade for prolonged periods of time. Fungicide should only be used as a last resort as Dollar Spot has developed resistivity to some fungicide applications.
Necrotic Ring Spot is particularly damaging to bluegrass as it is a perennial problem which infects the roots and crowns causing circular die back. This disease is difficult to control and the most common lawn disease in Colorado. Lawns are slow to recover from an outbreak and are most effectively treated yearly with a fungicide in the spring, cultural practices will also help to control the damage. Necrotic Ring Spot is caused by a soil born fungus causing circular dead patches up to one foot in diameter and it survives year to year by colonizing the roots and crowns of bluegrass. Seeding diseased areas with perennial rye grass or a resistant strain of bluegrass will also help to control this pathogen.