Most turf diseases are caused by an imbalance or reaction in the natural fungi population present in all fine turf. For the most part, fungi do not cause disease. In fact, for most of their life they help degrade thatch. Fungi cause disease in turf when two events occur:
The weather is conducive to disease.
The plant is susceptible to infection.
Each disease in turf, and there are many, develops under different conditions. Some diseases develop in the spring, some in the summer, and others in the winter months. Fortunately, diseases that can kill your turf are fairly rare and those that are more common are not very damaging.
While there are many different diseases, this section covers the most common or destructive ones. The best defence against disease development is to select those grass varieties with the greatest disease resistance. Rolawn takes great care and pride in selecting their turf seed. The next best action to minimise disease development is to take good care of your turf. Well managed turf will not only develop less disease, but it can recover from disease faster.
While diseases in turf are not common, they are natural and will occasionally develop. The first and most important step to take is to identify which disease is attacking your turf. If you are not familiar with diseases, ask an expert. The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) is the leading agronomy organisation in the UK; you can visit their website at strigroup.com/stri-uk.
Anthracnose is caused by a fungus and can strike at different times of the year, but can be managed when it occurs.
Take-all patch is caused by a fungus that lives in the soil, it does not attack the leaves. The fungus infects and kills the roots and stolons of bentgrass. As this happens, the leaves will display colour changes (red, yellow and brown) and this is what you will observe.
Brown patches in your turf may be a sign of disease.
Dollar spot may appear as small, slightly sunken spots of pale, bleached turf. Correct maintenance can reduce the occurrence and severity of the disease.
Fairy rings are a fungal turfgrass disease which can be difficult to eradicate, but their appearance can be masked through a suitable aftercare regime.
Fusarium patch disease presents as patches of yellowy-brown grass which does not attract dew in the mornings; you may also notice a fine white or pink mould.
Leaf blights can be caused by many different types of fungi; fungicides can be used if the blight has resisted other methods of treatment.
Red thread can be easily controlled once it has been identified.
Rust disease is easy to identify as it is usually noticeable on shoes or clothes if you have been walking on diseased turf.
Snow moulds are fungi which are usually noticeable in winter or early spring; correct maintenance can reduce the severity.