Leaf Blight

FIGHT THE BLIGHT!

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This week at the Wonderful World of Weed Man we will be continuing on our “Your Lawn May Have the Sniffles!” lawn disease series.  Last week we talked about powdery mildew.  It is common this time of year, so if you are seeing it, check out that article to see how best to treat it.  Today, we are going to focus on fighting blight!

As lawn fungus goes, blight can be a catchall term for many variations of leaf blight.  We see a few of the variations every year.  Particularly Pythium Leaf Blight as well as Ascochyta Leaf Blight.  I know, I know, that is a mouthful.  For today’s purposes we are going to discuss Ascochyta Leaf Blight.  If you are interested in Pythium Leaf Blight, we have a great resource on our website about it.

We tend to see Ascochyta Leaf Blight most often in the beginning of summer when temps spike, or at tail end of the summer when it cools down, but we get a warm spell.  The symptoms develop more commonly during hot, droughty periods that were preceded by cool, rainy conditions.  As most lawn diseases this leaf blight is just another type of fungi that lives in the soil thatch year-round and develops when conditions are just right for it to thrive.

When the leaf blight shows up on the lawn, it looks very much like your lawn is dying.  If you don’t know what to look for you might think that your lawn was ‘burned’ or ‘bleached’.  The leaf blade of the grass will turn straw colored very quickly.  The overall appearance of the lawn (in the affected areas) will look like its drought stressed or dead.

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Leaf blight, in comparison to drought stress or a dying lawn, can appear overnight or within a day or two.  Leaf blight, fortunately is not a blight on the crown or root portion of the grass plant.  It generally affects only the blade, and does not kill the crown or root of the plant.  If you look carefully at the grass blade, it will be straw colored from the tip down, but will be green at the base.  Because it is not damaging the crown or root, the lawn will recover on its own.

Conditions that bring on this disease can be the following

  • Mowing during the heat of the day seems to be one of the factors that cause this disease to become active.
  • It mainly affects bluegrass and it is usually on lawns that were mowed too short, or too often.Blight.jpg
  • Dull Mower blades will contribute to the severity of the disease. Your lawn mower can even spread the disease around on its wheels or mower blade as it moves up and down your property.  – you can see in this picture how mower wheels spread the disease around:

 

As stated previously this leaf blight will recover on its own within 2-3 weeks.  If you want to improve the recovery time, or prevent the issue altogether you can try the following:

  • Reduce thatch (where fungus spores like to lay in wait) by aerating your lawn regularly.  This will allow better water flow deeper into the soil.
  • When the disease is present reduce your mowing frequency, and increase your mowing height.
  • Avoid mowing during wet weather and/or the hottest part of the day.
  • Collect your mowing clippings to reduce the spread of the disease and/or the severity of the disease
  • Fungicides in this instance are very expensive, and literally unhelpful, as the damage has already been done.  Again the lawn will recover on its own.

If you are seeing any type of leaf blight in your lawn, and need some help with it, don’t hesitate to call the Weed Man! 208-888-9911  www.weedmanboise.com  #wecareforyourlawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Lawn May Have The Sniffles!

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Welcome back to the Wonderful World of Weed Man!  As summer is coming to a close, there is still much that can be done to take care of your lawn.  One to two more fertilizers can be applied to help restore health and nutrients back to your heat stressed lawn.  Fall is literally, (yes, literally in the truest sense of the word) the best time to treat weeds.  You can also aerate your lawn as well to help open up the soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to flow better where it is needed most – the root system.  As summer winds down, all the lawn problems you have been having will go away…….

That is not entirely true.  Fortunately, MOST lawn problems get out of hand in the summer.  Unfortunately, as the weather cools down and we begin to enter the autumn season some lawn issues can remain or begin to become a problem.  Primarily, lawn disease.  Yes, your lawn can get a disease.

Lawn diseases can occur at any time of the year, even in summer.  Essentially lawn diseases can be a varying type of fungus.  Mushrooms are the most common and least harmful to the health of your lawn.  There are many others though, such as necrotic ring spot that are not as pleasant for your lawn.  Some even have interesting names such as: fairy ring, pictured below.  Each is distinct in its formation; each is unique in its presence on your lawn.

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Lawn diseases can occur at any time of the year, even in summer.  However, we tend to see more disease during the fall months than any other season of the year.  This is the time of year that we seem to spend a lot of time discussing disease prevention with our customers.  To provide more information, we wanted to post a series of articles about the most common lawn diseases we encounter.

Throughout this series we will be discussing causes of lawn disease as well as solutions to wipe out the problem.  In all reality, there is not one solution for ALL types of lawn fungus.  Most of the time a change in watering can help as well as fertilizer.  However, some lawn diseases thrive on nitrogen – so more fertilizer in those instances would make the issue worse.  As stated earlier, each is unique in its formation – therefore, the solution may not always be as simple as adding more fertilizer, or spraying a fungicide on the lawn.

Since we are less than 1” of annual rainfall necrotic ringspotaway from being classified as a desert we generally wouldn’t see many of these types of fungus grow naturally in our area.  A homeowner’s unfamiliarity with proper watering and mowing techniques, or general lawn care, will not cause the disease.  However, it can create the exact environment needed for a disease to thrive!  Even in a desert climate, the spores of the fungus are present.  Stuck in the soil, waiting patiently for the perfect storm of conditions to culminate so it can flourish.  Millions of them.  Just there.  Part of nature. Waiting.

In this series we will begin with the five most common lawn diseases we encounter.  We may add to it as time progresses, but to begin with we will start with these five:

It will be too difficult to discuss all common diseases in one posting, so we encourage you to check back each week as we progress through the five most common lawn diseases we encounter.  In the meantime, if you are experiencing a lawn issue don’t hesitate to give us a call!  www.weedmanboise.com 208-888-9911 #wecareforyourlawn