Lawn Fungus: Identification, Treatment, and Prevention.

Lawn fungus is a disease that can be a real eyesore for Cincinnati homeowners who take pride in their lush, green lawns.

In this article, we will dive into the world of lawn fungus, giving you the knowledge to identify it, treat it effectively, and prevent future outbreaks. Let’s get started! 

Table of Contents

What is Lawn Fungus?

Lawn fungus is a common disease in the Greater Cincinnati area. It affects many types of grasses, causing unsightly patches, discoloration, and even death of the grass.

Fungal diseases can develop due to a variety of factors, including environmental conditions, poor lawn care practices, and the presence of certain pathogens in the soil.

By understanding what causes lawn fungus and how to identify the specific type affecting your lawn, you can implement the appropriate treatment and prevention measures to restore your lawn’s health and appearance.

What Does Lawn Fungus Look Like?

Lawn fungus can present itself in several different ways, depending on the specific type of fungus and the grass species affected. Some common signs of fungal infections include:

To accurately identify the type of fungus affecting your lawn, it’s helpful to examine lawn fungus identification pictures. Below are pictures and descriptions of some of the common lawn fungus diseases in our area. For a more precise appraisal, you can consult with a lawn care professional.

Brown Patch lawn fungus
Brown Patch is a kind of lawn fungus that causes uneven round spots in the lawn. These spots have a brownish-yellow color and their size can vary from 6 inches to several feet across.
dollar spot lawn fungus disease
Dollar Spot (sclerotinia homeocarp) is named for its tan, quarter- to silver dollar-sized spots sunken in the turf. Sometimes, tiny cotton-like strings of the fungus sprout from the infected blades of grass.
Snow Mold typically looks like round, matted patches of “dead” grass with a white or pink mold, which often leaves behind a dry or slimy brown spot (even when the web-like mold is not visible).
rust lawn fungus disease
Rust lawn diseases shows up as an orange or yellow powdery layer. This layer is actually fungal spores. Don’t step on them and walk inside your house (they can stain your shoes!).
red thread lawn disease fungus cincinnati
Red Thread, besides its pinkish-red hue, causes grass blades to look frayed and start dying from the tip. The impacted grass makes uneven, straw-like patches between 2 inches to 3 feet.
leaf spot lawn disease
Leaf Spot lawn disease is a fungus that shows up as brown or black spots on grass blades. It’s prevalent in bluegrasses, which is a popular turf throughout Cincinnati, Ohio, and Kentucky.

What Causes Lawn Fungus?

Lawn fungus thrives in specific environmental conditions and can be triggered by various factors, including:

Understanding the factors that contribute to lawn fungus growth can help you take the necessary steps to prevent and treat fungal infections.

Will Lawn Fungus Go Away on Its Own?

In some cases, lawn fungus may resolve itself without intervention. This is especially true if the underlying cause is addressed (such as improving drainage issues, adjusting bad watering practices, or properly fertilizing your lawn).

However, for more severe or persistent fungal infections, it’s essential to take proactive measures to treat and prevent further damage to your lawn.

Natural Ways to Kill Lawn Fungus

We get asked for tips on organic and natural solutions all the time. Thankfully, we’re up-to-date on these methods. Here are two of the most common all-natural treatments for lawn fungus:

1. Will Vinegar Kill Lawn Fungus?

Vinegar is a popular solution people use to get rid of lawn fungus. This is because the acetic acid in vinegar can kill the fungus spores and stop them from growing. But be careful when you use vinegar on your lawn. If you use too much, it can hurt your grass and other plants.

Here’s how to use it safely:

White vinegar kills lawn fungus
White vinegar, when used properly, can effectively treat light to moderate cases of lawn fungus.

2. Will Baking Soda Kill Lawn Fungus?

Yes, baking soda will work if done right and if the lawn fungus isn’t excessive or stubborn. How? It creates an alkaline environment that fungi doesn’t like. But as with vinegar, there’s a downside.

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a type of salt. And all salts are corrosive when too much is used.

Here’s how to make a safe solution:

baking soda kills lawn fungus
Baking soda can kill lawn fungus but can easily damage grass or slow its growth if used incorrectly or excessively. Proceed with caution.

How to Prevent Lawn Fungus the Right Way

Here are five steps you can take to reduce the risk of lawn fungus. If you can handle these correctly and consistently, the risk of this lawn disease ruining your yard will go way down.

  1. Water your lawn properly. Ensure that your lawn receives sufficient water, but avoid overwatering. Water deeply and infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. And always add water in the morning. You don’t want your lawn to stay wet for prolonged periods because that is the primary factor in breeding lawn fungus.
  2. Mow at the correct height: Mowing your grass too short can stress the turf and make it more susceptible to fungal diseases. Adjust your mower blade to the recommended height for your specific grass type.
  3. Aerate and dethatch: Regularly aerate and dethatch your lawn to improve soil drainage and reduce the buildup of organic matter that can harbor fungal spores.
  4. Fertilize appropriately: Use a slow-release, balanced fertilizer to provide your lawn with the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Avoid over-fertilizing, which can promote fungal growth.
  5. Maintain proper lawn hygiene: Remove fallen leaves, large rocks, tree limbs, and other debris to reduce the risk of fungal infections. Grass clippings from a routine mowing are good for your grass so there’s no need to remove them. Keep your lawn care tools clean and sanitized to prevent the spread of fungal spores.
  6. Overseed your lawn. Especially in Cincinnati, you can prevent your yard from thinning by overseeding once a year. A more robust, denser carpet of grass will help prevent lawn fungus.
  7. Hire a professional: Fungicides can be expensive and hard to apply for a homeowner. A lawn care expert can identify your specific type of lawn disease issues, apply the correct fungicidal treatment, and follow through with a plan that prevents it from returning. There’s no more effective and time-saving way to prevent and treat lawn fungus than with a consistent treatment plan.
lawn aeration service cincinnati
Lawn aeration, as shown here, and dethatching are two great methods for keeping a lawn healthy and strong enough to prevent lawn fungus.

When to Apply Fungus Control for Lawns

Timing is crucial when applying fungicides or natural solutions to control lawn fungus. Early intervention is key, as fungicides are most effective when applied at the first signs of infection.

Seasonal lawn fungus guide chart
This seasonal lawn fungus chart will tell you generally when some of the more common types of lawn disease occur.

Apply Fungus Treatments Safely

Be sure to follow all safety precautions when using any type of chemicals on your lawn. We follow strict safety rules and you should too.

Here’s how to keep yourself safe during applications:

  1. Wear protective clothing and gloves.
  2. Read all instructions carefully before using chemicals and other treatments.
  3. Consult your local lawn care professional for advice.

With the right care and techniques, you can keep your grass healthy and free from fungus while minimizing any health risks to you and your family.

American Landscapes Fertilizer Cincinnati
When treating your lawn, especially with corrosive organic solutions or chemicals, it’s vital to wear protective gear.

Final Thoughts

Lawn fungus can be a challenging issue for homeowners to tackle, but with proper identification, treatment, and prevention measures, you can restore your lawn’s health and maintain its beauty. And if you’re having issues, we’re just a call away.

Need More Help?

Need a pro to handle your lawn care year-round? Just contact American Landscapes here for a free, no-obligation estimate. Or call us at (513) 947-8727.

You can also learn more about our lawn care applications and treatments, landscaping, and outdoor lighting services by reading our blog. In addition to fertilizer and weed control, we provide mosquito control, lawn aeration, lawn seeding, and much more.