Few things are as most frustrating as a lawn that, no matter what, seems to fail to react to treatments. In many cases, under-performing lawns may be falling victim to various types of lawn disease. Disease may show itself as a yellowing or wilting of the grass. Other symptoms may include brown spots on the blades of the grass. Fortunately, many types of lawn diseases are treatable.
Most lawn diseases can be notoriously difficult to diagnose, simply because disease may only be considered after traffic, light, water and nutrient issues have been ruled out. Fortunately, most lawn diseases take time to spread, meaning you may be able to act before the entire yard is infected. In the vast majority of cases, a lawn disease is caused by some type of fungus. Some of these lawn grass fungi may also have the same recommended treatment.
Though there are many turfgrass ailments, some are more common than others. Moist, humid and warm conditions can cause many different diseases such as rust and brown spot. Rust gives the lawn a yellowish color, and brown patch starts as a brown spot and grows. Snow mold develops on lawns that have snow sitting on them for an extended period of time.
In some cases, it may be possible to treat some problems without chemical treatments. For example, most problems with turfgrass fungus are caused by conditions that are too wet. If you make sure you only water as much as necessary, then you can reduce the optimum conditions under which fungus grows. Aeration can also help keep yards healthy.
Chemical treatments involve the use of fungicides, of which there are three basic types commonly applied to lawns. Contact fungicides stay on the plant's surface and kill any spores that it contacts. System fungicides work through the grass's vascular system to clear up infections. Penetrant fungicides penetrate through the grass as a preventative measure. You may need to rotate types of fungicides for optimum treatment.
While you may be tempted to try different fungicides until you find one that works, that may not be the best course of action. Not only can it be expensive, it could help the fungus become resistant to other fungicides that may prove to be effective. Therefore, the best option is to take a sample of the grass to a local extension office, which should be able to diagnose the problem and recommend a proper fungicide.