Overview of diseases and pests of the lawn: how to defend your lawn in an unequal battle?
Many housewives get rid of flower beds, replacing them with a lawn in order to spend less time on weeding and care. But in fact, lawn grass should be watched no less than roses or ornamental shrubs. With poor-quality care, herbs can hurt, be affected by pests, which is why their decorative effect is greatly reduced. As a result, instead of a beautiful lawn, you get a lifeless area covered with bald spots and yellowed grass that spoils the entire design. Any lawn disease is easier to prevent than to restore sod from scratch. Consider the most effective measures for the prevention and treatment of lawn grasses affected by diseases or spoiled by pests.
Each doctor will tell you that maintaining health is much easier than getting rid of old sores. This applies not only to people, but also to plants. If the disease goes into an advanced stage, then the only option for saving the grass is to cut out pieces of the affected turf and completely replace the soil in this place. Meanwhile, most diseases can be prevented by proper care. So, the main activities that keep sod healthy:
Elimination of excess moisture and stagnation of water
High soil moisture is the best factor for the development of fungal infections. The stronger the soil is compacted, the harder it is for the roots to breathe. If you notice that the water after the rains is puddled on the lawn, you need to aerate with special tools or ordinary garden pitchforks, pricking the ground in many places.
Good oxygen access to the roots makes the turf more developed and resistant to most infections, and aeration helps to avoid moisture stagnation.
Timely cleaning of felt
Dying grass gradually accumulate on the lawn and interfere with the normal growth of the rest of the grass. Their drying stems cover the ground with a continuous carpet and interfere with normal ventilation. From here - excess moisture and rooting out. Avoiding problems will help timely combing the lawn with a rake. If they mow with a trimmer, then comb out simultaneously with the harvesting of mowed grass. But the owners who cut the lawn mowers, you must additionally pick up a rake to comb the felt.
Dying grass blades accumulate near the ground with a continuous carpet, creating excellent conditions for the propagation of infection spores, since under the felt it is always wet
Competent fertilizing fertilizers
There is a rule that the closer to fall, the less nitrogen must be applied to the soil. Nitrogen causes an excess of green mass, weakening the root system, and in the fall this is undesirable. Before winter, it is the roots that must be left healthy in order to give good grass resistance next spring. Therefore, we introduce nitrogen in the spring and until mid-summer, and by autumn we feed only phosphorus-potassium fertilizers.
Winter preventative measures
In winter, the root system of herbs becomes fragile and quickly deteriorates if you walk along it as actively as in summer or autumn. Ideally, in winter you can’t step on the lawn at all, but sometimes it is located just along the way to the annexes or the gate. In this case, lay the boards on the snow and walk on them. This is a more gentle option than trampling the frozen turf with shoes.
If you apply all of the above measures regularly, but the lawn still does not please the appearance, you need to figure out which disease or pest sharpens it. The sooner you start the fight, the faster you destroy the infection before it has captured the entire territory of the lawn.
The most common lawn grass diseases
All diseases of herbs can be divided into two groups: infectious and parasitic. Infectious infect the plants themselves. Their spores penetrate the stems or roots, causing the death of grass. Parasitic - this is the settlement of the lawn with other microorganisms (mushrooms, lichens, algae), which gradually displace the sod from the habitable area, conquering from it an increasingly large area.
In plants, the susceptibility to infections is different. Of the lawn grasses, meadowgrass and all species of fescue are most affected by diseases. If they are part of the mixture planted on your lawn, then care should be especially careful. Among the most common turf diseases, the following can be distinguished:
Disease # 1 - Fusarium
The disease is transmitted through contaminated soil or through the air, so if your neighbors are already sick with a lawn, the debate will reach you. The term for the development of infection is from late autumn to early spring. The causative agent of Fusarium fungus is very resistant to low temperatures. It will survive at -50 °, although it reaches its maximum development at temperatures from zero to -5 °, during thaws and wet weather. Signs of the disease appear in early spring. On a thawed lawn you will see silver or slightly pink spots of glued grass. The diameter of the spots is from 2 cm to 20. Because the grass seems to be covered with snow, the infection is also called “snow mold”. Gradually, the blades dry out and become straw.
If the spots are small, then immediately treat them with a systemic fungicide, such as carbendazim. Large spots indicate severe damage to the turf. In this case, the entire area is sprayed with fungicide, and from the affected areas the sod is completely removed along with the top layer of the soil and sown with grass in a new way.
The most common infection called snow mold, or Fusarium infection, is easy to recognize by its silver-gray plaque on a blade of grass resembling a web or slightly melted snow
Disease # 2 - Powdery Mildew
A very well-known infection from which many garden crops suffer. Actively develops in wet summers. It appears white plaque on a blade of grass, reminiscent of cotton wool or foam. It gradually darkens and hardens, and with it the blades of grass dry out.Recent entries In April, I process roses so that no pests encroach on my beauties
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Most often, the appearance of powdery mildew is to blame for moisture and an excess of nitrogen fertilizers. Stop feeding the lawn, treat with fungicide and comb it well with a fan rake. Before winter, treat it with fungicide again, then be sure to mow it to prevent the mushroom from wintering on the stems, and reprocess it with a chemical preparation. In the spring, carry out complex dressing.
Flakes of white foam on a blade of grass is a signal that powdery mildew has settled on the lawn. And it’s better to start the fight as early as possible
Disease # 3 - Rust
The disease has several varieties, but all of them are easily detected on the stems of the grass in different shades of red-yellow tones. From a distance, the lawn looks stricken with rust spots. Most often, the infection is caused by poor lighting of the lawn and a lack of minerals in the soil. Fertilize the sod well, in a dry summer - establish regular watering, and mow the affected areas in 2-3 days until healthy stems grow.
If the lawn began to turn yellow not in late autumn, but in spring or summer, it means that he was struck by such an infectious disease as rust. The reason is lack of nutrition to the roots
Disease # 4 - Red Thread
The most eloquent proof of the untidy lawn. Reminds of itself in May or in the fall. The grass begins to turn pink in some places, and if you look closely, this color is given to the stems by threadlike red spores that braid the aerial part of the grasses. The appearance of the lawn immediately deteriorates, and some areas gradually dry out. There is no special fight against this disease. It is enough to feed the sod, comb it to remove debris, and improve aeration.
Pinkish spots on the lawn are formed as a result of the activity of harmful spores that braid the aerial part of the grass, leading to the death of plants
Parasitic plants (mosses, lichens, algae, mushrooms) settle only on untidy lawns, where the grass is weakened due to poor nutrition, lack of drainage and soil compaction. If the turf is healthy, then he himself will fight for the territory, and special help is not required here.
If there are few mushrooms on the lawn, then they are not dangerous, and even useful for grass, since the mycelium feeds the roots with useful trace elements
To eliminate lichens, the first thing to do is liming the soil, reducing excess acidity. Most often this is enough to remove the parasite. The second step should be systematic top dressing, which will improve the health of the lawn. The occurrence of algae is the result of compacted soil and poor drainage. If you establish aeration and comb the grass from time to time, then the problem will disappear by itself. Mushrooms actively develop where there are a lot of organic remains (bits of fruit, uncleaned grass, etc.). If you put the lawn in order and burn all the garbage, then the mycelium will gradually weaken and disappear.
Pests of grass and options for their destruction
In addition to diseases, many living creatures encroach on the lawn, but insects among them play the most insignificant role. Damage to the grass by a bread tick, wireworm or a Swedish fly is not so significant, and if the turf is healthy, it quickly heals the damaged areas.
More serious pests of the lawn are moles, ants and earthworms. Their tireless activity leads to the appearance of mounds of land on the lawn, the grass under which, of course, dies.
The more nutritious the soil under the lawn grass, the faster the mole settles there, looking for prey in the form of earthworms
You can find options for getting rid of moles from our article “Fighting moles in a summer cottage: an overview of some humane methods”. We will consider in more detail how to get rid of ants and earthworms.
War with ants: scare and poison
Ant mounds can appear on the lawn only in two cases: if nearby there are fruit trees on which they can graze aphids, and if grass is planted on sand. It is easy to make a deep anthill in it. To destroy the entire herd, it is easiest to treat the anthill with a strong chemical. The gels are especially good, since it is enough to apply them on the ant path and drip in several places on the top of the anthill. Insects will drag the “delicacy” inland and feed them all, including the queens. Tomorrow the mound will be strewn with corpses. You will need to level the soil and sow grass.
If the ants on your lawn are frequent guests, then it is better to deal with them using the scare method. Ground red pepper or cinnamon can be scattered on the lawn. They do not harm the grass, but insects cannot stand pungent odors.
Sandy soils are a real treasure for ants. They are able to build anthills of great height in them, if you do not take measures to scare them away
Earthworms: relocate to the garden
Sometimes many earthworms appear on the lawn. More precisely, we do not see them, but traces of activity - holes throughout the lawn and heaps of excrement. If no one walks on the lawn, then the mounds will quickly tighten. But on the lawn, where the owners are accustomed to rest, such places will be crushed, and the blades of grass will be crushed. As a result, bald spots will appear.
It is not customary to destroy earthworms, because they perfectly loosen the soil. You just need to make them clean the lawn to the nearest flower garden or garden. To do this, stop watering the lawn and sprinkle it with sand. Worms do not like dry places and crawl to where it is more humid. You can also wait for a heavy rainfall and immediately after it go to the lawn. Rainfall will flood the worms and they will crawl out in search of oxygen. And here you are and take them warm. Collect in a jar and transfer to the beds.
Earthworms perfectly ventilate the soil and improve its drainage properties, but the appearance of a lawn dotted with mounds of soil is not very aesthetic
Video clip “do-it-yourself lawn repair”
A lot of damage is caused by grass and dogs that dig holes, but the owner himself is to blame for this, allowing the animal to freely run around the site.