What is a lawn disease
A lawn disease is an abnormal turf condition that has an adverse effect on the health of the grass. They are often difficult to identify correctly, as so many have similar symptoms and appearance.
There are different kinds of disease that infect turf in the UK. The most common are fusarium patch, red thread and fairy rings. Each turf disease is different, some attack different grass species, some attack luxury lawns while some attack utility lawns and the timing of the attack varies too.
However they all have one common trait, in that 3 main components must be present in the turf or soil for the disease to become active and infect the grass. If any component is missing then the disease can not thrive. These 3 components are:
- The grass species: The species of grass (sometimes referred to as ‘the host’) present in the lawn is a factor, as different species are susceptible to different diseases. E.g. Annual meadow grass is prone to fusarium patch and anthracnose. Rye grass and fescue is susceptible to red thread. Bent grass suffers from take-all patch.
- The soil pathogens: Soil pathogens are always present in the the soil and it is these that cause the damage, as they infect the turf. Pathogens are bacteria or micro organisms found within the soil. They include various types of fungi, nematodes and viruses.
- The environmental factors: Environmental or climatic conditions can influence the development of pathogens as well as leaving turf susceptible too an attack. Fusarium attacks turf in cool, moist conditions while red thread infects turf on poorly drained soils that are deficient in nitrogen.
Correctly identifying a turf disease can be a difficult task, even turf professionals sometimes require some help. For these reasons we have covered the most common diseases, with key information and images to help with disease identification. All the common disease are covered. These include fusarium, red thread, take-all, anthracnose and dollar spot. Fore more information please click here…
Prevention and control
The climate, which plays a major role in turf disease development, can not be controlled. However, cultural practices can be adapted to discourage many diseases. Mowing the grass at the correct height, the correct fertiliser inputs, removing surface water from the lawn all play their own role in preventing turf diseases.
Controlling a disease can be a difficult task for the amateur gardener. This is because they don’t have access to turf fungicides, as used by turf care professionals (however, many fungicides are slowly be removed). Luckily the most damaging diseases are quite uncommon on lawns and those that do attack can quite often be managed using cultural methods.
Turf diseases are much more common on sports turf, especially golf greens. This is because the turf is mown shorter, as golfers demand quick putting surfaces. Sports turf also receives more wear and tear. This all adds up to more stress being placed on the turf, leaving it more susceptible to an attack.