Is Your Lawn Brown This Year? It’s Probably Fungus
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.