Fungus

What has happened to my grass?

Last week it looked so green, healthy, and strong. This week is looks sick, is turning brown, and appears to be dying.

The answer is the dreaded FUNGUS and it is attacking lawns in the Jefferson City and Lake Ozark area.  Fungus is a disease of the grass of which there are several types. It can attack every type and strain of grass if the right conditions are present for fungus growth. No grass is totally immune to all types of fungus. The primary time for fungus development in central Missouri is during the months of June, July, and August when daytime temperatures reach 85 - 90 + degrees and night-time temperatures reach 65 - 70 + degrees.

There are many types of fungus, but the two most commonly found in Missouri lawns are Dollar Spot and Brown Patch. These two fungi are capable of severely damaging or killing any grasses it attacks. Dollar Spot appears as small round spots, generally a few at first, then multiplying to several in a matter of a few days or weeks. Brown Patch is much larger than Dollar Spot and generally will produce fewer spots.

Both Dollar Spot and Brown Patch prosper in a warm and humid environment. The disease is usually caused by excessive moisture lingering on the turf for a prolonged period of time. Lawns that sit in low areas around lakes or rivers are especially prone to a fungus attack. A cool rainy period, followed by a rapid increase in temperatures creates a prime time for fungus to attack your beautiful lawn. While we cannot control Mother Nature, there are some cultural practices we can do to minimize the possibility of fungus becoming a problem in your lawn.

Dollar Spot Fungus
Dollar Spot Fungus
(click for more information)
Brown Patch Fungus
Brown Patch Fungus
(click for more information)

Central MO Turf Management is pro-active with our Pro Supreme program in preventing fungus from invading a lawn. Our goal is to do everything possible to prevent fungus spores from invading the lawn and damaging the grass in any way. This program provides for multiple applications of a high quality preventive fungicide and a special blend of other products to build the health and vigor of the lawn each summer. This program will help to eliminate the possibility of fungus development in the lawn.

FINAL NOTE: If your goal is to develop a high quality or world class lawn, it is almost impossible to achieve unless both FUNGUS and INSECT programs are included in your total lawn care plan.

Other types of fungus found in this area:

Fairy Ring Fungus
Fairy Ring Fungus
(click for more information)

Powdery Mildew Fungus
Powdery Mildew Fungus
(click for more information)

Pythium Blight Fungus
Pythium Blight Fungus
(click for more information)

Summer Patch Fungus
Summer Patch Fungus
(click for more information)


Dog UrineDog Urine

No, this is not a fungus but many people mistake it for fungus. Dog urine burns the turf due to acid and dissolved salts in the urine. It is usually a circle about 6 inches in diameter. Once the damage has occurred and the brown spots are visible the grass is dead in the area of the burn and should be replaced or re-seeded.

"One of the major contributors to high acid and dissolved salt in urine of dogs is a high protein diet. High protein in a dog ration is obtained from a meat diet of table scraps, canned dog food, or dry dog food that contains high levels of dried meats or animal fats. In order to reduce the toxicity of the urine, it will be necessary to eliminate table scraps and canned dog food from the diet and feed a dry dog food containing only a maintenance level of protein. Other than a change in the diet, the only way to eliminate problems with urine killing the grass is to watch where the dog urinates and immediately poor water on the spot to dilute the toxic urine."

- Dr. Greg Popp,
Weathered Rock Veterinary Clinic, Jefferson City, MO


Dry Hot SpotHot Spots

This picture is also not any form of fungus. Central MO Turf Management refers to this condition as “Hot Spots” resulting from: thin top soil, compacted soil, and insufficient moisture. The crown of much of the grass has died from lack of moisture and very little if any of this grass will survive. Each sprig of grass is competing with other sprigs for available moisture. Also, many broadleaf and grassy weeds will germinate in areas where the grass has died and they too will compete for moisture. The eventual result of this condition will be total destruction of the lawn or portion of the lawn where the problem occurs. 

*Fungus pictures from Rhone-Poulenc, makers of Chipco fungicides.

Top