Because June is a time of transition for most lawns in the U.S., there are several common turf conditions you can expect to see this month.
June is an interesting time of year for many lawns across the country, and this has a lot to do with the changing of weather conditions as we inch closer and closer to summer. At this juncture of the season, we start to see warmer days with cooler nights in the north. In the south, the already warmer days will be joined by warmer nights. Understanding how your lawn is affected by these quickly changing weather patterns can help you make better decisions that will help keep your lawn in top form.
In the northern areas of the U.S. where bluegrass, perennial rye and fescue lawns grow, the most common turf stressor to expect at this time of year is leaf blight. This disease typically occurs very quickly and resembles chemical or fertilizer burn.
This is likely one of Weed Man’s most difficult issues, as many clients often misconstrue leaf blight for a misapplication. That being said, I can certainly see how many homeowners would think the damage is not disease-based, as it blights out such large sections of the lawn.
One of the ways you can avoid leaf blight is simply to improve your cultural care practices. First and foremost, a sharp mower blade is a must when cutting the lawn. It is also important to make sure you don’t water at night or cut the lawn when it is wet. Keep in mind that sometimes you can do all the right things and leaf blight will still attack your lawn. A good application of fertilizer (and a little bit of time!) will help the lawn recover.
Each and every June, Weed Man also receives several calls regarding “a weird looking weed” resembling wheat. This is actually poa annua, or annual bluegrass, a very common grassy weed. In reality, we do not try to get rid of poa annua, as it is just a part of having a lawn. After it sets seed, the lawn can go somewhat yellowish as it uses up food stores. Again, time and a good fertilizer will help the lawn through this stressful period.
In areas where tall fescue grasses are grown, the number one issue is brown patch. Typically, warm nights – combined with long periods of leaf wetness from afternoon thunderstorms, irrigation, or dew – create ideal conditions for brown patch development. Again, cultural practices will have a profound effect on the presence and severity of brown patch. Fertilization, irrigation, and mowing are the most important factors to consider. Applying a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer to the lawn, not watering at night, using a sharp mower blade and the right mowing height are all important. Mowing too short (<2.5 inches) will weaken the tall fescue, whereas if you leave it too long (>3.5 Inches), it can retain moisture and create a breeding ground for disease. If you have had issues with brown patch in the past, then looking at a preventative fungicide application may be an option to help keep your lawn free of disease.
In southern areas where St. Augustine lawns are prevalent, there are a number of turf diseases that tend to pop up, but brown patch is the main one. The issue for St. Augustine grass is making a correct diagnosis; more specifically, distinguishing between a potential disease issue and a chinch bug infestation.
Because St. Augustine lawns are prone to both brown patch and chinch bugs, it’s important to know what is at play on your lawn. If you miss the proper diagnosis, you may end up with costly damage that will force you to replace the lawn. Control of chinch bugs in the south can be difficult, as many of them are resistant to Pyrethroid applications. Partnering with Weed Man to help you select the right control method is key for eradication and prevention.
Keep those lawns healthy,