Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew, Powdery Baking Soda

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It’s getting cold here in the Wonderful World of Weed Man! Autumn is most certainly upon us.  The air and leaves are crispier, the wind is blowing, and pumpkin spice is ever present.  Even though the temps have dropped, your lawn is still alive and taking in nutrients in preparation for the winter.  Now is still an important time to maintain the health of your lawn.

Let us help you achieve that by continuing our series on lawn disease.  We last wrote about Rust Fungus, and this week we will talk about a similar type of fungus – Powdery Mildew.  They have a few similarities, including appearing as a powdery substance on your grass blades.

If you were to take a look at our website, you would find this lawn disease describes as,

“Powdery mildew is a damaging disease of blue-grasses and fescues. Periods of low light intensity and poor air circulation favor the disease. Heavily shaded areas are particularly susceptible.” 

You are most likely to see powdery mildew during the spring or fall when temperatures are lower.

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Powdery Mildew – even with good fertilization, mowing, and watering habits, still shows up from time to time in my lawn.  When it shows up, it only shows up in one place in my lawn.  The heavily shaded area on the north side of my property.  It gets little sunlight, and poor air circulation due to the position of my house and the fencing attached to it.

It is a fungal disease that looks just like it sounds.  It is fairly easy to identify

  • Grass blades look like they have been dusted with white powder like baking soda
  • Powdery mildew will start off as spots on the grass blade
  • The white spots will spread to cover most of the upper part of the grass blade

powderyInterestingly, powdery mildew does not require much moisture to infect plants like other fungal diseases do.  Poor watering habits is typically a contributing factor to lawn disease, however in this instance you could water well and still run into this disease.  Powdery mildew, though typically does not, can cause damage to the lawn if it is severe enough.  As the fungus covers the grass blade it will disrupt photosynthesis.  As the plant weakens, it will become even more susceptible to other lawn diseases or issues.

The ‘interwebs’ are full of advice on how to deal with powdery mildew.  I found a curious DIY ‘organic’ solution made from Baking Soda.  I cannot professionally account for the success of such a mixture, but apparently if you mix baking soda, water, vegetable oil and dish soap you will create a concoction to combat this disease!  For those of you who would like a less involved approach to resolving powdery mildew you can do as follows –

Once discovered in your lawn, there are some easy steps to clear up the disease:

  • Implement recommended watering habits – deep and infrequently
  • Keep a high mowing height to promote a healthier root system that can withstand disease better
  • Reduce the amount of shade by trimming trees and shrubs that contribute to the shady areas
  • Increase the air circulation by thinning trees and shrubs or making appropriate changes to landscaping to promote air flow in the area of concern
  • Provide a light application of fertilizer to help promote recovery.
  • Reduce thatch with core aeration
  • There are fungicides that can be applied to help recover, however they can be very cost prohibitive to do.

Although there are chemicals that can help control fungus in the lawn, we generally do not recommend it.  There is a time and place for use of chemical treatment, but too often homeowners just want a quick fix.  Many times chemical control for fungus treats the symptoms and not the underlying cause.  Chemical control can get very expensive as it needs applied consistently and often to work.  If you make the necessary changes to your cultural practices it will improve on its own.

If you are seeing powdery mildew 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