Diseases are caused by fungus that lives in your turf…

All turf has this fungus present, there are thousands of fungi that live in turf. Normally you do not see the fungus or the disease it causes, but during conditions of high humidity or wetness, or enclosed gardens that have little air movement, diseases may appear.

A well maintained turf and a turf originally supplied by a reputable grower who has elected for disease resistant cultivars when sowing the turf in the first instance is going to have more chance at fending off disease. Two of the most common diseases are:

1. Fusarium

One of the most common lawn diseases is Fusarium patch disease or snow mold. It is more prevalent in fine turf such as greens turf and ornamental lawns. It can appear at any time of the year but if left untreated it can do a lot of damage, especially during the autumn/winter months due mainly to the fact that it can’t recover as quickly as it can during the growing season. Another contributing factor during winter is snow. It acts like a blanket on the ground insulating the grass against the cold and providing ideal conditions for the fungus to continue to do damage beneath.

The first signs are Irregular shaped patches that start to appear, the fungus itself looks like tiny balls of cotton wool around the edges. It can do a lot of damage if left untreated during the early stages with a suitable fungicide treatment. The treatment may have to be applied more than once.

2. Red Thread Disease

The other common disease is known as red thread. It can appear at any time but is more active when conditions are humid or wet. Fescue grasses are more prone to attack from this particular disease. The patches appear at random and on close examination the fungus can be observed which look like tiny red antlers attached to the blades of grass. Under nourished turf is far more likely to incur the ravages of red thread disease. A severe attack warrants the application of a suitable fungicide. Alternatively, if it appears during the growing season, an application of nitrogen rich fertiliser may be all that is required.