Bermuda Grass Diseases

Bermuda Grass Diseases image by Photo by Wyrosedick on Flickr

Overview

Fungi diseases, such as spring dead spot, brown spot and dollar spot, can wreak havoc on your Bermuda-grass lawn, particularly in the spring and fall when they flourish because of warm days and cool nights. By knowing what the diseases are and how to treat them, you can save time, money and headaches. Solutions can include chemical or organic treatments. Proper mowing, cultivation and watering (severely water-starved or waterlogged grass is more susceptible to disease) also can address fungi problems.

Disease Types

Leaf spot, Brown Patch, Pythium, spring dead spot, and dollar spot are the most common types of Bermuda grass diseases.

Leaf Spot

Look for purple or brown streaks on blades of grass. A thinning of the grass normally follows.

Brown Patch

Characterized by dead patches of grass; normally occurs in heavily fertilized lawns in warmer temperatures.

Pythium

Look for spotty or streaky patches of dead grass. Grass can appear cotton-like because of all the fungus present. Disease is most likely to be present in poorly draining areas when humidity is high.

Spring Dead Spot and Dollar Spot

Spring dead spot: Circular dead spots with grass looking like bleached straw. Roots of grass turn black. Dollar spot: Similar to Brown Patch, but smaller in diameter. Affected areas are normally around the size of a silver dollar. Fungus kills leaf tips and can appear like cobwebs.

Treatments

The use of chemical and organic fertilizers, as well as fungicides, is a popular way to treat Bermuda grass diseases. Severe cases may require numerous fungicide applications. Because rich soils inhibit fungal growth, adding organics to the soil as well as aerating and de-thatching the lawn can reduce problems. Organic remedies include sugar, alfalfa meal, lava sand and baking soda. Sugar: Spread via a mixture of 1 lb. for every 250 square feet, is another method for treatment of Bermuda grass. Alfalfa meal: Spread in the same way as sugar--1 lb. for every 250 square feet. Baking soda: Mix 2 tbsp. per gallon of water. Spray on top and roots of grass to fight fungus. Lava sand: Scatter over lawn. Does not need to be a heavy amount, but because it is organic will not damage grass if one area gets more than another.

Watering

Watering disease-infected grass should be done in the morning to allow the grass to dry before any further treatments are done.

About this Author

Kevin Beese has more than 25 years of experience writing and editing copy for both daily and community newspapers. He has been honored by the Associated Press, Illinois Press Association and the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association. His work has appeared in numerous publications including the "Chicago Tribune."

Photo by: Photo by Wyrosedick on Flickr