Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ascochyta in the Lawn: A Fungus Among Us by Cynthia Cox

Ascochyta Leaf Blight in Lawn.  Photo CSU Extension

Does your lawn have dry brown spots and look like it is dying? Many lawns are suffering from a fungus called Ascochyta, caused by irrigation irregularities and drought stress. Current Lawn disease products will not help remedy this fungus. The good news is, your lawn is not dead, the crown and roots are alive. Look at your grass blade, the blade will be brown from the top down.

Rest easy, this fungus doesn’t travel on the blades of lawn mowers, its source could be your sprinkler system. Check to make sure your lawn is receiving 1.5” of water.......use a cup or an empty tuna can. Next Check your heads, Are there any missing or broken heads. Are your sprinkler heads at right angles to the soil? Heads can be easily tilted by foot traffic and by mowers, if they are tilted your spray pattern is warped and dry spots are created. Are your sprinkler nozzles clean? Unscrew and clean the filter underneath, should probably be done at least weekly.

Now how about mowing, do not cut your lawn too short. Set the blade at 2- 21/2 inches.
Adequate water is important, and a two day watering schedule is adequate if your lawn is receiving enough moisture. Our lawns are struggling with the cool wet spring, and the very hot, dry summer days, an optimal condition for this fungus. Please just check over that sprinkler system and realize that your lawn is still alive. For more information check this Fact Sheet  It'll tell you all you need to know about the fungus among us!