Identifying and Combatting 3 Top Georgia Lawn Diseases

Georgia is known for its hot and humid summers, creating perfect conditions for fungi and other lawn diseases. Every Georgia lawn is susceptible to turf disease. The best way to prevent severe outbreaks is by promoting healthy growth through proper mowing and watering practices throughout the summer months.

Disease will only occur when environmental conditions are conducive to its development. Without proper treatment, turf disease can damage or kill your grass. To prevent unsightly dead patches and maintain a healthy lawn, be vigilant and watch out for these common lawn diseases found in Georgia.

Brown Patch

Brown Patch is a common lawn disease caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani. It primarily affects cool-season grasses such as tall fescue, but it can also impact warm-season grasses like Zoysiagrass and St. Augustinegrass. As the name suggests, the disease causes brown patches of grass ranging from 5 inches to over 10 feet in diameter. Additionally, it often creates a dark ring of active growth around the diseased turf.

Brown Patch thrives in warm, humid conditions, making it particularly prevalent during Georgia's hot and humid summers. It favors daytime temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, nighttime temperatures over 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and excessive ground wetness. Brown Patch Disease can become more severe when the grass blades are cut shorter than what is recommended for the particular variety of grass you have, so be sure to check for the optimal height for your variety before mowing. Overwatering, poor soil drainage, and excessive thatch buildup can exacerbate the problem. 

Brown Patch Treatment Recommendations

Improve air circulation and reduce humidity by maintaining proper watering practices (water turf early in the morning and improve drainage) and aerating compacted soil. Reduce thatch and minimize shade. Scheduling professional fungicide treatments like our four-treatment program to control Brown Patch in Fescue lawns, administered once a month from May to August, is also recommended to prevent and treat Brown Patch disease. 

Zoysia Patch

Zoysia Patch is very similar to Brown Patch, as it is also caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani. However, it only attacks warm-season grasses like Zoysiagrass, which are very common in Georgia. Zoysia Patch presents as larger brown patches that can exceed 25 feet in diameter. It favors high humidity and daytime temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It thrives during the transition periods between seasons when temperatures are cool and moisture levels are high, often occurring in late fall or early spring. 

Zoysia Patch Treatment Recommendations

As with Brown Patch, it is imperative to maintain proper watering and drainage practices to manage Zoysia Patch. Improve soil drainage and reduce thatch buildup to create less favorable conditions for fungal growth. Scheduling professional fungicide treatments is also recommended. At AgroPro, we have a three-treatment program to control Zoysia Patch in Zoysia lawns, administered in March, September, and October. 

Dollar Spot

Dollar Spot is a chronic lawn disease that affects all warm-season and cool-season grasses in Georgia, caused by the fungus Sclerotinia homoeocarpa. It thrives in warm, humid conditions and is often associated with nitrogen deficiency and excessive moisture. Dollar Spot is most prevalent in spring and fall. Affected areas develop small, circular patches ranging from the size of a silver dollar to several inches in diameter. Grass within these patches appears bleached or straw-colored and may have characteristic lesions or "water-soaked" spots. 

Dollar Spot Treatment Recommendations

Maintain proper nitrogen levels through regular fertilization and avoid excessive watering, especially during periods of high humidity. Irrigating in the late afternoon or at night should be avoided as this prolongs wetness. Remove thatch layers greater than one inch in depth and minimize shaded areas to enhance airflow. Schedule professional fungicide treatments to control fungal growth and prevent further spread.

It's essential to be vigilant in identifying and treating common lawn diseases like Brown Patch, Zoysia Patch, and Dollar Spot. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment strategies for these diseases, you can maintain healthy, green lawns year-round. Remember to practice proper lawn care to prevent future outbreaks and ensure long-term lawn health. If you need assistance or additional expertise in managing lawn diseases, don't hesitate to reach out to the AgroPro Lawncare Specialists for support or to schedule services. 

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