Turf grass is widely used for applications ranging from lawns and athletic fields to golf courses and polo fields. The primary reason is its ability to withstand a high level of foot traffic. It has great recuperative abilities, but it can also fall prey to diseases. In South Florida, most turf grass diseases are the result of fungal growth due to weather conditions.
Brown Patch Fungus
The disease is most obvious during the months of November to May and is especially aggressive. Particularly prevalent when daytime temperatures are over 80° F and nighttime temperatures are above 70° F, it presents as large patches of brown grass with a darker outer ring. Causative factors include high rainfall and humidity, along with excessive irrigation, that leaves the grass damp for more than 48 hours.
The disease takes its name from the silver dollar-sized spots that occur throughout the grass. Occurring during warm weather, there will be lesions on the grass blades within the spots. The disease thrives in soil with low nitrogen levels.
All types of grass are subject to root rot and the warm and humid climate conditions are conducive to its appearance. It proliferates when grass is wet for too long and there’s minimal air circulation.
It’s particularly difficult to eradicate. It can infect turf for many years before it’s noticed. It presents as dark green or brown patches of grass on the surface that can reach up to 20 ft. in diameter. It gets its name from the mushrooms that sometimes grow on the edges of the rings. Its spread via root systems.
The fungi weaken grass, making it more susceptible to other types of diseases. Typically appearing in the spring and fall when moisture levels are higher, it likes shady spots. It coats grass in an orange or yellow powder, grass grows slower, and the grass blades turn rust colored and/or die.
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