The beginning of autumn in Northwest Florida brings a welcome relief from the blistering and humid summer months, but for some Pensacola lawn care enthusiasts, it’s not all good news. That’s because cooler temperatures also create the perfect conditions for fungal diseases that can impact your lawn.
The most common fungal lawn disease in northern Florida is Large Patch (also known as Brown Patch), which is caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani. Other fairly common fungal lawn diseases include Helminthosoporium (Leaf Spot), Grey Leaf Spot, and Pythium Root Rot, although these are not as prominent during the fall like Large Patch is.
With the presence of fungal diseases, there are some simple tips that can help you treat or, better yet, avoid running into these frustrating turfgrass diseases as the weather starts to cool down.
Scale back on nitrogen fertilizer
Throughout the year, you or your Pensacola lawn maintenance company will be adjusting the timing of applications and volume of fertilizer to accommodate the current temperature, rainfall, and other factors that will affect what the grass needs and how well it will be able to benefit from the fertilizing.
In the fall, as the temperature begins to drop, the soil is generally able to maintain more moisture from rain and irrigation efforts than it could in the summer. As a result, fertilizer treatments, including large amounts of nitrogen, can have an adverse effect on the grass if they are applied too often or in application volumes that are too high.
While Pensacola lawn care service companies are likely to have these adjustments mapped out, it’s going to take some research and attention for a homeowner intending to maintain a healthy lawn through the fall.
Slow down on irrigation
Cooler temperatures and wet soil combine to create the perfect conditions for fungal growth, and that’s why you’re most likely to see Large Patch or other diseases break out in the spring or fall as opposed to the summer.
Because of the soil’s ability to maintain higher levels of moisture in the cooler months, you simply don’t need to water your lawn as often or as much in the fall. So, if you have your irrigation system on a timer, be sure to scale it back as the daily high temperature falls, and turn it off temporarily if your area is getting adequate rainfall. Likewise, keep your watering schedule to the early morning hours so that the day’s sunshine has the optimal opportunity to dry up the soil adequately before its next soaking.
Heading into the fall, you’re likely going to be able to mow a little less frequently than you have been throughout the summer. Beyond how often you mow, if you see signs of Large Patch or any other similar lawn disease, it’s important to alter how you mow to make sure not to make the problem worse.
Since these diseases are caused by fungus, they can be spread by dropping infected lawn clippings on uninfected grass. You should always mow the infected area(s) last and thoroughly clean out the blade and connections of your mower before mowing any other healthy portions of the lawn.
If you have any specific questions about lawn fungus diseases, or if you would like a professional recommendation for how to help you sort out a lawn problem, click below to contact us and learn more about our team of lawn care experts at Lawn Master.