4 Tricks For Preventing Spring Conditions From Causing Fungal Infections In Your Lawn
While spring may bring both flowers and showers, those humid and warm conditions also trigger the growth of common lawn fungi that homeowners come to hate. The cool evenings are also essential for the fungi varieties that leave your new green grown yellowing and developing large brown patches. Regardless of the type of fungus affecting your grass, these four lawn care tips will help you keep your lawn growing strong through the spring and into the summer.
Compacted soil is common under turf grass lawns, especially in areas where pets and kids play regularly. This encourages water to sit on the surface of the soil instead of soaking in after a rain, which also increases the chances of fungal growth. Aerating the soil once a year with a set of rolling spikes will increase drainage to create faster water absorption. It also reduces the amount of watering you do because more of the moisture is absorbed rather than evaporating off. This is a different process than de-thatching, which involves removing dead layers of roots covering the surface. It's also a good idea for fungal control, but it's not usually necessary every year.
Skip Nitrogen Fertilizers
Sprinkling the lawn with a little fast release fertilizer heavy in nitrogen is a quick way to green up a lawn after a long winter. Spring may seem like a good time for quick growth, but adding nitrogen fertilizers and fast release mixtures also increases the chances of a fungal infestation. Stick to mixtures with slow release formulations and low nitrogen content since phosphorous, potassium, and trace minerals still encourage fresh growth without triggering fungi.
Cutting your grass too short stresses the plants, resulting in a weakened immune system and greater chance of all sorts of diseases and infestations. Fungi are always looking for a new place to live, and scalped grass is the perfect stressed system for the tiny spores to invade. Let your grass grow up to 3.75 inches high before trimming to give it the best chance at fighting off any emerging fungal growth.
Water Early and Less Often
Water-stressed lawns can become spotted with brown patches of fungus, but it's more commonly caused by excessive and improper watering. Start your sprinklers or drip irrigation systems early in the day so there's good evaporation and air circulation before the sun sets and the dew settles down again. Don't water more than once a week, even if it's hot or in drought conditions, but water deeply to encourage healthy and deep root growth that resists the onset of rot and fungus.