The 3 Worst Lawn Diseases in TN and MS: What to Do (and Not to Do) About Lawn Fungus

Having a lush green lawn that the neighbors envy is important to a lot of homeowners in the Memphis, TN and Olive Branch, MS area. For that reason, few things are more frustrating than seeing brown spots and other discoloration start occurring as the result of a turf disease creeping in. These areas really stand out and detract from the overall look of the lawn (as well as can kill-off lawn areas).

Unfortunately, lawn disease is one of those lawn problems that moves swiftly. You might even feel as though your lawn looked great one day and suddenly became plagued with yellow or brown areas almost overnight.

If you’re worried about lawn disease at your TN or MS home, then you might be wondering which diseases are most common and what to do about them.

In Tennessee and Mississippi, there are 3 lawn diseases that we see most often. Let’s take a look at each as well as what you can do to protect your lawn from them.

1. Brown Patch

Brown Patch disease is a condition caused by a single species of fungus, Rhizoctonia, which is common during warm and humid weather conditions. This lawn fungus presents as dark circular patches on your lawn that grow outward as the disease spreads. These diseased circles may range from a few inches in diameter to several feet. They are not always true circles. Unfortunately, Brown Patch can move fast and be highly destructive, killing large areas of your turf.

Brown Patch Lawn Disease

This lawn fungus can be controlled with the professional application of a fungicide. Because of its fast-moving nature, the sooner this disease is treated, the better. If you notice browning grass (or any other sign of lawn disease for that matter), get on the phone with your lawn care professional right away. Time is often of the essence.

2. Fairy Ring

This lawn disease isn’t as destructive as Brown Patch, but it’s still something you want to get under control as it can cause aesthetic eyesores. With Fairy Ring, dark green rings are formed on the lawn due to fungal growth within the soil. What happens is that the fungus feeds on organic matter in the soil and releases nutrients, which form these dark green rings. However, in time, the fungus can use up your lawn’s nutrients, which can lead to dead rings and even mushroom growth.

Fairy Ring Lawn Disease

That’s not to say that mushrooms are always an indicator of fairy rings. Mushroom growth can be quite normal during wet conditions and usually removed easily. However, if you notice that the mushrooms are growing in a ring-like arc, then it may be indicative of a problem with Fairy Ring.

A professional fungicide can help control the fungal growth that causes Fairy Ring. In addition, dark green rings can be blended in by applying fertilizer to the area to even the color. If you have dead rings, your lawn care professional can also talk to you about restoring those areas.

3. Dollar Spot

Dollar Spot is a lawn disease that has earned its name as a result of the greenish/yellowish straw-colored lesions that grow. These lesions are about the size of a silver dollar and you may notice a brown border around them. While these spots can start out small, it doesn’t take long for them to grow and even start running together, producing large areas of dead turf.

Dollar Spot Lawn Disease

Getting Dollar Spot under control will require a professional application of fungicide. If you have large areas of dead turf, then you’ll also need to talk to your lawn care professional about seeding those areas to restore turf.

Cultural Recommendations

Unfortunately, a lot of times turf disease is beginning to fester before homeowners realize it and they make the problem worse. Watering habits and mowing habits are two practices that can ultimately have a pretty big impact on disease.

For one, it is recommended that you water early in the morning which gives the sun time to dry your lawn out. When you water in the evening hours, that water sits on the lawn and creates a habitat that can breed fungal growth.

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In addition, it’s important to keep your mower blade sharp and clean. If you are utilizing a professional lawn mowing service, and they aren’t cleaning off their mower deck after each lawn (which is very tough), they might be spreading disease from one lawn to another.

Of course, overall, just maintaining a healthy lawn matters, too. Best practices will go a long way in ensuring that your lawn is in strong and healthy shape. Disease is much more likely to overtake a struggling lawn than one that is robust and thriving.

With Lawn Disease Prevention Matters

In addition to these cultural practices, there is also a professional step you can take toward prevention. All three of these common lawn diseases (as well as many others) have something in common—they are fast-moving and require fast action. Once a disease takes over it can spread like wildfire. The more it spreads, the more difficult it can be to control.

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For that reason, your truly best approach to lawn disease is prevention. At Master Lawn, our Gold Program includes preventive turf disease treatments already built-in, allowing you to put disease worries out of your mind. Given the severity of some of these diseases, a proactive approach is ideal so that you never even give these menaces the chance to wreak havoc.

lawn-technician-customer-inspection-1Of course, we also value communication with our customers and encourage them to call us at the first sign of a problem. We often give out our team’s mobile phone numbers, and we welcome customers to text us pictures of problems that they suspect might be the early sign of turf disease. With how fast-moving disease can be, we’re always looking to act as soon as possible.

Ultimately, it is your wise choice to partner with a professional lawn care company that will keep your lawn as protected as possible from turf disease—and on top of taking swift action at the earliest signs of it. When you’re investing in your lawn and want it to look its best, you don’t need disease ruining it for you. By working with a pro, you can put those worries out of your mind and know that you’re covered.

Ready to have a lush green lawn, free from disease, at your Memphis, TN or Olive Branch, MS home? Talk to a lawn care expert, choose from 3 program options, and become the master of your lawn.

Get A Free Quote

Image Sources: brown patch, fairy ring, dollar spot

Michael Hatcher

Michael Hatcher is president of Michael Hatcher & Associates.

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