Working with problem areas
What is a plant disease?
Plant disease is any pathological condition caused by other organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses.
Fungal diseases are the most common while bacterial diseases are relatively rare. Symptoms vary considerably in appearance and severity, but the growth or health of the plant is almost always affected and in severe attacks, the plant may die.
The rate of infection is affected by factors such as weather and growing conditions. IM some cases, the disease causing organism is spread by a carrier, such as an aphid. The pathogen is sometimes visible on the plant as a discolored, distorted or wilting area of the plant.
Sometimes bad things happen even to the healthiest lawns. Lawn Diseases are one of those things. Diseases are enough to perplex all of us to no end. Many lawn diseases are not easy to identify and to distinguish from other problems such as pests or poor maintenance. Ask anyone who has encountered lawn diseases and they will tell you how frustrating they can be. Much like human diseases, lawn diseases can be difficult to properly diagnose and even harder to treat correctly. And, just when you thought you had all of your lawn care problems solved. Fear not, we have some tips to help you identify and treat your lawn problems.
Chances are that some of you reading this will already have a lawn disease problem. If so, the most common controls is to use a fungicide on your lawn. Various types of fungicides exist, so make sure that you use the right one. Some of the broad-spectrum fungicides will not only treat your disease, but can kill-off other good organisms and insects as well—not good! Since most lawn diseases are identified in spots before they spread, it's a good idea when using fungicides to first try to spot treat these areas to minimize the damage a fungicide can cause to your lawn's ecosystem.
As always, follow the instructions listed for each fungicide to help prevent possible damage to the environment and illnesses that can be caused by its use.
The best treatment is prevention. Avoid circumstances that are more likely to allow diseases to infect lawns. Proper watering, mowing regularly and at the correct height (don't mow too short). In some instances, disease is spread by mowers that have recently cut infected lawns. If you hire an outside maintenance service, discuss with them precautions they take to avoid disease spread.
Thatch is also a breeding ground for many diseases. Aerate often if necessary (2 times a year) to reduce thatch to less than 1/2". Improve drainage if water regularly stands after a heavy rain. Be careful of over-watering, or watering at the wrong time of day (see watering info).
Ask a professional lawn care provider for specific treatments recommended for your specific geographic area. (See Selecting a Lawn Pro in your area)
Diseases can form a resistance to fungicides after repeated use. Try to minimize this through using various types of fungicides.
There are three types of fungicides available.