Diseases Specific to Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is a warm season grass that is native to southeast Africa. In the United States, it is grown in the Southeast. Though a favorite for parks and golf courses, it works for residential use as well. However, Bermuda grass can fall victim to fungal diseases that can turn a green lawn into patches of brown.

Brown Patch

Brown patch is an easily preventable fungus. It is caused by too much fertilizer being applied when the night temperatures are more than 68 degrees and the day temperatures more than 80 degrees. It starts out as a small spot, but the spots grow, come together and make larger patches. In some cases, there will be a ring of brown grass surrounding healthy green grass. Fertilize lightly in the summer and do not use a fertilizer with too much nitrogen. Water between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. and only when the soil is dry. Give it one good soaking, so the soil is wet to a depth of about 5 to 7 inches rather than a little bit each night. Fungicides can control brown patch

Spring Dead Spot

Spring dead spot is one of the most serious fungal diseases that can attack Bermuda grass, and its rate of occurrence and its severity is increasing. Spring dead spot appears as circular dead spots that can measure anywhere from 6 inches to a few feet in diameter. Bermuda grass lies dormant in the winter, and the disease appears in the spring just as the new growth starts. Both the roots and stolons-the part of the plant that produces the roots-will look rotted out. Stolons from outside the affected area will grow into the infected area during the summer and it will appear to recover very slowly, however the roots they produce will be short and stubby which will produce a thin grass. The problem will return the next year in the same places and the spots will become larger year after year. The disease does not appear until it has been well established, about 3 to 4 years. Repeated applications of a fungicide can control Spring Dead Spot.

Dollar Spot of Bermudagrass

Dollar spot is a severe fungal disease that will appear in areas that are neglected or are under stress from a lack of nitrogen. Weather plays a part in the development of the disease. It will spread faster when it is warm and humid during the day with cool nights that are heavy with dew. It will start out killing the grass in small straw colored spots and then the spots may meet to create large dead areas. Individual blades of grass will develop similarly colored lesions that are bordered in tan or reddish brown. The disease spreads when the lawn is mowed. Fungicides can treat this disease.

Keywords: Bermuda grass diseases, lawn diseases, brown patch, spring dead spot, dollar spot

About this Author

Regina Sass has been a writer for 10 years, penning articles for publications in the real estate and retail industries. Her online experience includes writing, advertising and editing for an educational website. Sass is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.