How to Prevent Fungal and Disease Growth in Lawns during the Fall and Winter

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How to Prevent Fungal and Disease Growth in Lawns during the Fall and Winter

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"Repairing bare spots in lawns during the fall and winter season will also help to lessen the amount of disease activity. This process will help by strengthen the root zone of weak or thin areas of lawns, which are susceptible to disease and fungi activity."

How to Prevent Fungal and Disease Growth in Lawns During the Fall and Winter

This page is a general maintenance program to prevent mold, fungal, and other disease growth for lawns during the fall and winter season. By using the products and methods suggested in this article you can get control of disease growth in lawns. Follow this DIY guide and use the recommended products and products to achieve 100% improvement in your lawns during the fall and winter season.

Many different diseases can take place not only during the summer, but the fall and winter season too. These diseases can range from white mold, pink snow mold, snow mold, Pythium blight, and many others. Typically, the first sign of disease with any fungal, mold, and others is discoloration, matted grass, or dead turf.

Often homeowners will ask how does mold, fungi , or disease grow on their lawns during the fall and winter? Your lawns could have these diseases due to improper mowing, over-fertilization, over or under watering, the wrong type of fertilizer being used, or from current weather conditions such as consistent rainfall that is needed for the growth of fungus, mold, and other diseases.

Treating your lawn prior to the fall and winter season can lessen the amount of products being used in the fall. Refer to the steps and products listed in this DIY guide to prevent the amount of fungal or diseases growing in your lawn that may emerge during the spring.

Treatment for Grass Funguses, Mold, and Diseases

Before proceeding with treatment, you will need to determine if your grass is dormant or dead during the fall and winter season. The simplest way to determine if your turf is dead or alive is to perform the tug test. To perform the tug test you will grab a small handful of brown turf then pull. If it comes out easily then it is dead, but if there is some resistance then the turf may be dormant.

Once you confirmed your turf is dead or dormant then you can continue with the following steps and products. You will need to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling or applying any herbicide products.

Mow as Needed

Mowing Grass

Keep the turf higher than 3 inches before mowing can occur. Lawns maintained at height of 3 inches or more will promote deeper root growth for the cooler weather conditions.

If weather conditions are consistently cool then mowing will need to be reduced to no more than once a month or ceased for warm-seasoned lawns. Usually, early November is the best time frame to cease mowing activity for warm-seasoned grasses. When weather stays warm or higher than 50 degrees Fahrenheit then cool-seasoned grasses will need to be reduced to once a month. This mowing schedule may also be seen as early November.

A good rule to remember is that turf covered in snow or ice should not be mowed as the blades cannot cut the turf.

Aerate Lawns to End of September

Aerate Turf

One of the best things to do for lawns is to aerate before it reaches it period of active growth. For either grass types, the timing will be at the beginning or end of September since this is known as the beginning of fall.

Like dethatching, aeration will help lawns to remove dead patches of grass. The exception to dethatching is that aeration will penetrate the soil with several small holes to loosen the earth underneath the turf to enable air, water, and nutrients move more easily.

For best results, this process should be applied prior to fertilization to allow the nutrients reach further to the turf roots. This will help lawns to become more fuller and stronger in not only the fall and winter season, but the spring as well.

Fertilize Your Lawn Until November

Fertilize Turf

Lawns that do not receive enough nutrients tend to become weaker leading to disease growth. To strengthen your turf against this diseases you will need to apply a fall fertilizer that is appropriate for your turf type. These turf types will fall into warm-seasoned grass like St. Augustine Grass or cool-seasoned grass like Kentucky Bluegrass.

You may fertilizer your lawn from September to November to provide your lawn the appropriate level of nutrients to decrease the amount of disease activity. Depending on whether you have cool-seasoned or warm-seasoned turf this fertilizations schedule will vary. We recommend for either grass types to be fertilized with a fall fertilizer like Solutions 8-12-16 Fall Grow Fertilizer at the beginning of September.

Applying fertilizer during this period will avoid excessive turf growth during the cooler season and prevent cool-season grass from growing during the warmer spring months. If fertilized after this month then grass is susceptible to becoming dead from weather conditions and may not be able to enter its period of dormancy.

For a general application, you will use 5 lbs. of Solutions 8-12-16 Fall Grow Fertilizer per 1,000 sq. ft. Load your push spreader with the appropriate amount of product and begin at the corner of your treatment area. Walk at a steady pace around the entire edge of treatment area then back and forth across the middle to cover the center space. Once finished, water the lawn with an inch of irrigation at least 1 to 2 days after fertilization.

Water Your Lawns as Necessarywatering lawn

The average watering for lawns throughout the year is an inch of irrigation. Despite the season, the best time to water is in the early morning. This will enable your lawn to have enough time to process the water into its roots without excessive pools or standing moisture during the night.

Most fungi and diseases thrive and grow in moist conditions. However, if left un-watered then lawns become weaker and dry leading the grass becoming subjected to diseases as well. The best thing to do is to deeply your water once a week with an inch of irrigation during the early morning.

Be advised that dormant lawns receiving more than inch of irrigation during the fall and winter season may awaken out of dormancy. Warm-seasoned lawns that are awaken during the late fall and winter season can die from the cooler weather conditions.

Treat Existing Fungal and Disease Activity

Spraying Turf

In the cooler and sometimes moist conditions of the fall and winter season their can be fungal, mold, and other disease growth. Treating your diseased lawn with a liquid fungicide will help the product seep further into the root zone providing more residual and preemptive control of disease activity.

We recommend using Patch Pro since this product is formulated as a liquid product with the active ingredient propiconazole 14.3%. Meaning that this product will penetrate from the tissue to the root zone of the afflicted plant for longer periods of time.

Determine how much Patch Pro to use by measuring the square footage of the treatment area. To find this, measure the length and width of the treatment area in length then multiply (length X width = square footage). A general application of Patch Pro can be mixed between .5 to 4 oz. of product per gallon of water per 1,000 sq. ft.

To mix, fill a backpack sprayer or handheld pump sprayer with half the amount of water, then the appropriate amount of Patch Pro, and the remaining half of water. Close the lid to the sprayer tank and shake to ensure an even agitation. Once the solution is well-mixed then you spray the top and bottom of turf leaves until wet, but not to the point of run-off.

Key Takeaways

What Funguses can Appear on Lawns During the Fall and Winter

  • In short, there could be a variety of fungi, mold, or diseases that appear on lawns during the fall and winter season. Some of the most common ones are white mold, pink snow mold, snow mold, and Pythium blight.

Causes of Fungi, Mold, and Disease Growth on Fall and Winter Lawns

  • Typically, the reason for fungi, mold, and disease growth is based on several factors such as over or under watering, improper fertilization and mowing, consistent rainfall, wind, and freezing weather conditions, and compact soil.

How to Remove Fungi, Mold, and Diseases from Lawns

  • We recommend using a liquid systemic fungicide like Patch Pro at the first signs of disease activity during the fall and winter season. Depending on the disease, you will use between .5 to 4 oz. of product per gallon of water per 1,000 sq. ft.
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