cuts grass logo

Dealing with Common Lawn Diseases

A lawn with various patches of discoloration

Table of Contents

Maintaining a lush and green lawn requires proper care and attention. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to keep your lawn looking at its best, especially when common diseases can attack your lawn and weaken its health. In this article, we’ll explore the most common lawn diseases and learn how to identify, prevent, and treat them.

Identifying Common Lawn Diseases

Maintaining a healthy lawn can be a challenge, especially when dealing with lawn diseases caused by fungi. However, identifying these diseases can help you take the necessary steps to prevent and treat them. Here are some of the most common lawn diseases and their characteristics:

Brown Patch

Brown patch is a fungal disease that typically appears during hot and humid weather. It is caused by the Rhizoctonia solani fungus and can affect all types of grass. This disease causes round patches of dead grass that can be up to several feet in diameter. The patches often have a brown or yellow ring around them and a darker center. Brown patch can be prevented by avoiding overwatering, mowing your lawn at the correct height, and improving soil drainage.

Dollar Spot

Dollar spot is another fungal disease that affects all types of grass. It appears as small, circular patches of dead grass that are about the size of a silver dollar. The affected grass blades usually have straw-colored lesions in the shape of an hourglass. Dollar spot can be caused by low nitrogen levels, drought stress, or excessive thatch buildup. To prevent dollar spot, make sure to fertilize your lawn regularly, water deeply and infrequently, and remove excess thatch.

Red Thread

Red thread is a fungal disease that is caused by the Laetisaria fuciformis fungus. It causes pinkish-red threads to appear on the grass blades. The affected grass may have irregular patches of brown or yellow grass that are distinct from the surrounding healthy grass. Red thread is often caused by low nitrogen levels and can be prevented by fertilizing your lawn properly, watering deeply, and improving soil drainage.

Fairy Ring

Fairy ring is a fungal disease that manifests as a ring of dark green grass that encircles an area of dead or yellowing grass. Mushrooms may also appear on the ring. This disease is caused by several types of fungi and can be difficult to control. However, improving soil drainage, aerating your lawn, and removing excess thatch can help prevent fairy ring.

Snow Mold

Snow mold is a fungal disease that usually appears after the snow melts. It is caused by the Microdochium nivale and Typhula ishikariensis fungi. Snow mold causes circular patches of matted down, straw-colored grass, or grass that has a white or pinkish mold on it. The affected grass may eventually turn brown and die. To prevent snow mold, avoid excessive fertilization in the fall, remove leaves and debris from your lawn before winter, and avoid walking on your lawn when it is covered in snow.

By identifying and understanding these common lawn diseases, you can take the necessary steps to prevent and treat them, ensuring a healthy and beautiful lawn for years to come.

Preventing Lawn Diseases

Maintaining a lush, green lawn is a source of pride for many homeowners. However, it can be challenging to keep your lawn healthy when faced with various diseases that can damage or kill your grass. The best way to deal with lawn diseases is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are some effective preventative measures that you can take to keep your lawn healthy and disease-free.

Proper Watering Techniques

Watering your lawn deeply and infrequently is the best way to avoid fungal diseases. Overwatering can create a damp environment that is ideal for fungal growth. It is recommended to water your lawn early in the morning, so the grass blades have a chance to dry during the day. This technique can help to prevent the spread of fungal diseases by reducing the amount of moisture on the grass blades.

It is also essential to monitor the amount of water your lawn receives. Too much water can lead to waterlogging, which can cause root rot and other diseases. On the other hand, too little water can cause your grass to become dry and brittle, making it more susceptible to diseases.

Adequate Fertilization

Fertilizing your lawn properly can strengthen its resistance to fungal infections. Be sure to use the correct type and amount of fertilizer depending on the grass type and soil nutrient level. Over-fertilizing can lead to excessive growth, which can weaken the grass and make it more susceptible to diseases.

It is also essential to fertilize your lawn at the right time of year. Fertilizing in the fall can help to promote root growth and prepare your lawn for the winter months. Spring fertilization can help to encourage new growth and prepare your lawn for the summer months.

Mowing and Aeration

Mowing your lawn to the proper height and regularly aerating it can help to promote healthy grass growth and prevent fungal infections. Aeration involves creating small holes in the soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the roots. This technique can help to prevent the buildup of thatch, which can harbor fungal spores and other harmful microorganisms.

When mowing your lawn, be sure to use a sharp blade and mow to the appropriate height. Cutting your grass too short can weaken the grass and make it more susceptible to diseases. It is also essential to mow your lawn regularly, especially during the growing season, to prevent the grass from becoming overgrown and stressed.

Disease-Resistant Grass Varieties

Choosing grass varieties that are resistant to common diseases in your region is another effective way to prevent lawn diseases. Consult with your local garden center or university extension service to find out which varieties are best suited to your area. Disease-resistant grass varieties can help to reduce the need for fungicides and other chemical treatments, which can be harmful to the environment and your family’s health.

In conclusion, preventing lawn diseases requires a combination of proper watering techniques, adequate fertilization, mowing, aeration, and choosing disease-resistant grass varieties. By following these preventative measures, you can keep your lawn healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Treating Lawn Diseases

If your lawn has already been infected with a disease, prompt treatment can prevent further damage. Here are some ways to treat lawn diseases:

Fungicides and Their Application

The use of fungicides can help to control fungal infections. Follow the instructions carefully when applying fungicides, and apply them when the weather is calm, and the forecast is for extended dry weather. Fungicides work by killing the fungus or preventing its growth. They can be purchased at most garden centers or online. Always wear protective clothing and gloves when handling fungicides to avoid skin irritation or inhalation.

It’s important to note that fungicides are not a cure-all solution. They work best when used as a preventive measure rather than a curative one. If your lawn is already severely damaged, fungicides may not be effective in restoring it to its former health.

Organic Treatment Options

In addition to commercial fungicides, there are also organic options for treating lawn diseases. These options are often safer for the environment and your family. One such option is spraying a diluted solution of baking soda and water. Baking soda helps to raise the pH level of the soil, making it less hospitable to fungi. Another organic option is a mixture of dish soap and water. The soap helps to break down the cell walls of the fungus, making it easier to kill.

It’s important to note that organic treatments may take longer to work than commercial fungicides. Additionally, they may need to be reapplied more frequently to be effective.

Repairing Damaged Areas

If a disease has caused extensive damage to your lawn, it’s best to reseed or resod the affected areas. Make sure to remove all the dead grass and loosen the topsoil before reseeding. Water the newly seeded areas regularly to promote healthy growth. Additionally, consider adding nutrients to the soil to help the new grass grow strong and healthy.

It’s important to note that repairing damaged areas can be time-consuming and expensive. However, it’s often the best way to restore your lawn to its former health. Consider consulting with a professional landscaper if you’re unsure about how to proceed.

In conclusion, treating lawn diseases requires prompt action and careful consideration. Whether you choose to use commercial fungicides or organic treatments, make sure to follow the instructions carefully and take appropriate safety precautions. And if your lawn has suffered extensive damage, don’t hesitate to take the necessary steps to repair it.

Maintaining a Healthy Lawn

Maintaining a healthy lawn is not just about aesthetics, it is also important for the environment and the health of your family. A lush and green lawn can help prevent soil erosion, filter pollutants, and improve air quality. Here are some routine lawn care practices you can follow to promote a healthy lawn:

Routine Lawn Care Practices

Regularly mowing your lawn to the appropriate height is crucial for the health of your lawn. Mowing too low can damage the grass and leave it vulnerable to disease and pests. On the other hand, mowing too high can shade the grass and prevent it from getting enough sunlight. The recommended height for most grass types is around 2-3 inches.

Watering your lawn deeply and infrequently is also important. This encourages the roots to grow deeper and makes the grass more drought-resistant. It is better to water your lawn a few times a week for a longer period of time, rather than watering it every day for a short period of time. This helps prevent water runoff and ensures that the water reaches the roots.

Aerating your lawn and dethatching it can also keep the lawn grasses healthy. Aerating involves poking small holes in the soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate deeper. Dethatching involves removing the layer of dead grass and other debris that accumulates on the surface of the soil. This allows the grass to breathe and grow more easily.

Sweep away any leaves or debris that accumulate on the lawn surface and avoid compacting the soil by heavy foot traffic or other machinery. Compacted soil prevents water and air from reaching the roots and can lead to the development of disease and pests.

Monitoring for Signs of Disease

Keep an eye out for any signs of lawn disease, such as brown patches, yellowing grass, or unusual growth patterns. Common lawn diseases include fungus, mold, and insects. Treat them promptly when they arise. This can help prevent the spread of disease to other areas and keep your lawn healthy.

Seasonal Lawn Care Tips

Adjust your lawn care routine according to the season. For example, in hot and dry weather, reduce the frequency of mowing or watering to avoid stressing your lawn grasses. In the fall, rake up any fallen leaves and remove any debris from the lawn. This prevents the leaves from suffocating the grass and allows it to breathe.

By following these routine lawn care practices, monitoring for signs of disease, and adjusting your lawn care routine according to the season, you can maintain a healthy and beautiful lawn all year round.


Lawn diseases are a common problem for many homeowners. However, by identifying, preventing, and treating them promptly and effectively, you can ensure your lawn remains healthy and beautiful throughout the year. Remember to adopt the appropriate care and maintenance methods, and your lawn will thrive with lush greenery.