This year has been nothing short of brutal on my lawn. My front lawn started off nice and quickly went downhill in a matter of weeks. A renovation in 2018 of the lawn started to feel like a gigantic waste of time this year.

This was my front lawn in 2019. This was by far the best lawn that I have ever had to date.

Matt Sparx

Then 2020 came along and much like the entire year, my lawn wanted to join in on the mess with a debilitating fungus.

At first, I didn't realize it was a fungus affecting the lawn. I did ask a couple of people about the situation and some thought it could be an insect or grub problem. That is when I started an insect and grub treatment to no avail. Thankfully we have a very awesome extension department in Colorado. I sent photos in for a diagnosis and they were able to conclude that my issue happened to be Ascochyta Leaf Blight of Turf Grass. The hard to pronounce blight is a common disease in Kentucky Blue Grass and can also occur in fescue and ryegrass varieties.

Time to correct the fungus. Now that I knew what I was dealing with, it was time to get my yard back to being healthy.

Fungicide

To fight the fungus, I applied two different types of fungicide. Scott's DiseaseX granular disease control and Quali-Pro Propiconozole liquid concentrate. Both of these fungicides were applied at a treatment rate to mitigate any fungus in the lawn.

Dethatch

CSU's Extension site recommends reducing thatch, which is a dead layer of grass just above the soil. Using an electric dethatcher on the lawn, I discover how much dead grass and thatch was hiding under the green blades of grass. Let me tell you, it was a lot. When the dethatcher arrived, I couldn't wait until the next day to use it, so I used it at about 9 p.m. in the dark.

Two passes in opposing directions rendered two large contractors bags worth of thatch. After the dethatching was done, I had to rake it up to the sidewalk for easy cleanup. The piles only sat for a few minutes. In those few minutes, only a couple of inches into the thatch, the temperatures were significantly higher than the ambient temperature outside. No wonder why my yard was suffering and looked utterly stressed.

Recovery

It has been a little more than a week since I have dethatched the front yard and there is a vast difference in the health of the yard. The dethatching coupled with the fungicides and strict watering schedules has brought my yard back from a sad state to looking amazing in a very short amount of time.

This is what the lawn looks like only after a week of being dethatched:

Matt Sparx

I would say that it is a huge improvement. There are still a few trouble spots that are visible, but nothing that cannot be taken care of this fall with some grass seed and a little TLC.

If you happen to have erratic dead spots in your yard, chances are that it is probably a fungus. You can always reach out to the extension office to get a diagnosis and a course of action to fix your lawn issue.