Fall is almost over and winter is just around the corner – what’s the status of your lawn care? There are common lawn diseases to look out for that might start during the fall and continue through winter into early spring.

One variable that allows these diseases to occur is the type of grass that you have. There are two main types of grasses that we use for our turf: cool season grasses and warm season grasses. It is usually the warm season grasses that are affected by these diseases during the fall and winter, as grasses in this category thrive better in warm weather.

The major warm season grasses include Bahia, Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine, and Zoysia. Of these, Bermuda and Zoysia is most common to the mid-south. Depending upon the weather and other conditions, we might anticipate fall turf diseases to occur.

The most common diseases you might see this fall are Zoysia patch or large patch, take-all root rot, dollar spot and fairy ring. Zoysia patch or large patch is characterized by circular patches that start with a rusty orange circle in Zoysia that has been over-watered or over-fertilized with nitrogen fertilizers. The patch turns yellow, then reddish brown, brown or straw-colored as the grass dies. This is common in Zoysia grass, especially in the wet and low temperature weather during fall.

Take-all root rot is a fungal disease that is usually more common in spring or early summer but can occur any time of the year under circumstances that might have stressed the lawn, especially in areas where the soil remains water soaked. This is characterized by brown dead spots which may result in thinning grass if left untreated. This disease usually affects Bermuda and St. Augustine.

Dollar spot commonly occurs during the summer and fall, affecting both warm and cool season grasses. This disease often appears when nitrogen fertilizer is low and it is characterized by small, silver dollar-sized spots that are white to light tan in color. It shows white lesions on the leaves which causes the leaf to die and later causes white patches. Many times, the first treatment for dollar spot is simply to fertilize with an appropriate nitrogen containing fertilizer.

Fairy ring often times can be seen in the early fall as the turf begins to slow its growth. This fungal pathogen tends to grow in a circle or ring that dies out in a pattern that resembles a lawn where a tire has been left in the grass. Aerating these rings and applying fungicide with a wetting agent will begin the recovery process.

What can you do? Best practice is to reduce the risk of turf disease by mowing according to the recommended height for your type of grass and monitoring irrigation frequency and volume. Our technicians monitor your lawn for issues all during the year. By applying the proper types and amounts of fertilizer as recommended throughout the year, we can help avoid many issues.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so let’s not wait until our turf dies before we jump into action. For best results, contact Personal Lawn Care for recommendations on how you can care for your grass any time of the year.