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Lawn Disease Control

Issues on your lawn

There are a number of reasons why your lawn might experience issues – causing  it to lose its beautiful green color and overall healthy appearance. Your lawn will tell you when something is wrong, and it may be nothing more than needing a good watering. Below are some of the most common issues.

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Round circles in your lawn

Necrotic Ring Spot Control

The most common Colorado lawn disease is Necrotic Ring Spot (NRS), a perennial lawn fungus that causes round or doughnut-shaped patches of dead grass. This soil borne fungus affects Kentucky Bluegrass.

Although NRS thrives in our arid climate and weather conditions, it can be controlled by the use of resistant varieties, good turf management practices and fungicide applications.

What you need to do to prevent lawn diseases

Mowing: The highest setting on your lawn mower will help shade the soil, keeping the roots cooler in the hotter months. A taller lawn height also conserves moisture and promotes lateral growth to thicken the lawn. A sharp mower blade will also improve the general health and appearance of the lawn. (2 1/2” to 3” mow height)

Watering: Necrotic ring spot almost often occurs in lawns receiving too much moisture, however reducing your watering practices is not the answer. The goal of lawn watering is to effectively wet the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, without water puddling on the soil surface.  During the growing season we recommend one 15 minute watering in the morning, and one 15 minute watering in the evening. During the spring and fall, watering two days per week should suffice. During hot and dry summer months, watering 3 days may be necessary.

Reseeding: Often over-seeding with a blend of disease resistant seed will help re-established your lawn in damaged areas. We recommend a blend containing perennial ryegrass.

Fertilizer:  Abundant soil fertility also encourages NRS development. Withholding some nitrogen fertilizer, while making the lawn just a bit less lush, will discourage necrotic ring spot. The secret to good NRS management is to provide a balanced fertilization regimen, which avoids peaks and valleys in nutrition. That is, apply fertilizer that slowly releases nutrients into the grass plant. Swingle offers two different fertilization programs designed for necrotic ring spot management.

Organic based fertilizer

This fertilizer is primarily derived from organic sources including alfalfa, blood meal, cottonseed meal, urea, and ferrous sulfate. Applied five times during the season, this fertilizer provides readily available nutrient and also includes a slow release component. Biological stimulants are also included to increase microbial activity. Soil microbes break down the thatch layer into useable nutrients for the grass – it also increases the soil biodiversity.

Time released engineered fertilizer

This fertilizer is applied once during the season – either in the spring or fall. Caliber Cote releases nutrients when the soil is moist. The slow release of nutrients helps the turf grow steadily – promoting healthy root growth, while maintaining a green lawn.

Results: We do not guarantee control for Necrotic Ring Spot. We have found, however, that improved lawn care practices can greatly reduce the scarring that occurs. Following our recommendations for both lawn care practices and treatment will help suppress NRS damage. In turn, this will encourage new growth which will fill in old NRS scars and improve your lawn’s health and appearance.

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Kentucky Bluegrass Fungal Disease

Ascochyta

Ascochyta is another common lawn disease. A fungal disease that occurs with Kentucky Bluegrass. It’s most prevalent in the spring and summer when lawns are stressed due to variable moisture conditions and temperature fluctuations. It can occur throughout the growing season.

Individual blades start dying back from the tips, withering towards the base of the grass blade causing the leaf tip to appear pinched. In most cases, pockets of infection will cause a patchy or streaked appearance.

The area will recover in 2-3 weeks with additional watering and mowings.

What can be done to help your yard?

  • Core aerate to reduce thatch buildup
  • Keep mower blades sharp
  • Mow grass to a height of 2 1/2 to 3 inches
  • Do not mulch your lawn if you have ascochyta
  • Keep mower wheels and shoes used when cutting the lawn clean, as this can spread the fungus
  • Water in the morning so leaf blades can dry quickly
  • Water the affected area with more water less often
  • Use a soil conditioner such as REVIVE to improve your lawns water efficiency
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During states of extreme dryness

Mites and Desiccation

February 2017 has been one of the warmest and direst on record. The unseasonably warm temperatures, combined with a lack of moisture can lead to desiccation on your lawn.

Desiccation is a state of extreme dryness, when water is lost at a faster rate than it’s replaced. This not only causes stress to the root system, but it also leaves your lawn more susceptible to mite attacks.

Lawn mites can be hard to diagnose to the untrained eye and are most active and damaging in the months of February, March, April and even into May. Homeowners often realize there’s an issue when patches of their lawn don’t appear to be greening up as the growing season progresses.

Because much of February has remained warm and dry, even a light snowfall will not eradicate the problem. Lawn mites have been provided the perfect conditions to survive in the root system, regardless of how much snow may be on top of them.

The best thing you can do to prevent mites from attacking your lawn is to water it during warm, dry conditions. A 30-45 minute watering, once a week, is sufficient during these times. Pay close attention to south and west facing areas of the yard especially near evergreen trees and shrubs, as they tend to dry out much faster.

Severe mite problems are best mitigated with a combination of strategic watering and Miticide applications, which Swingle offers. If left untreated, you might find yourself replacing part or all of your lawn come the spring.

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A common lawn disease

Snow Mold

Snow mold is among the most common lawn diseases – usually appearing in early spring after a particularly snowy winter. Snow mold occurs when snow falls on unfrozen grass and remains on the grass for an extended period of time – compacting the blades.

The first symptom of snow mold is straw colored patches in your lawn that are anywhere between 3 to 12 inches in diameter. Although snow mold is likely to go away on its own, there is a chance that patches of your lawn could die and seeding or sodding would be necessary.

One of the most important things you can do to help contain snow mold is to rake your lawn as soon as the snow finally melts. Doing so will break up the matted down patches of grass – allowing the grass to breathe and dry out from the sun, thus discouraging fungal development.

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FAQ

Lawn Care

Why did Swingle come out to treat for lawn mites when my yard is covered in snow?

Lawn mites like warmth. Remember that fact when you see your lawn covered in snow. Where snow has melted and grass is showing is typically where you’ll find mites. Snow covered lawns are actually very helpful when spraying for lawn mites by centralizing the mites in specifics locations. Technicians are trained to identify, while on the property, if treatment will be beneficial or not.

Lawn Care

Does Swingle offer lawn mowing services?

Swingle lawn care services DOES NOT offer lawn mowing services, but recommends contacting the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC) www.alcc.com to find a reputable mowing service in your area.

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