Whether you see it or not fungus is all around us, including our lawns. Small, sparse amounts of fungus spores typically don’t pose any serious threat to grass and plants. But there are times when fungus can take over a lawn, consuming nutrients and breaking down the grass.
When this occurs, you may discover patches of brown or otherwise dead grass throughout your lawn – a sign of a possible fungus infestation. Another sure sign of fungus infestation is mushrooms popping up all over your yard. So, what’s the best ways to protect your lawn from this phenomenon?
Watch the Water
Lawns need plenty of water to survive and stay healthy, but there’s a fine line you must balance between keeping your lawn hydrated, and saturating it to the point where it encourages fungus.
Fungus thrives in damp, moist environments, so over-watering your lawn may encourage fungus to take hold in your lawn. A good rule of thumb is to water your lawn deeply, about 1 inch, no more than once per week during the summer.
This should provide your lawn with enough water to stay hydrated and healthy while still protecting it from fungus.
It’s recommended that you mow your grass shorter if you discover signs of fungus. 2 to 3” generally works for most varieties.
But if there’s fungus present, you may want to drop down even further to help destroy the invading colonies and regain control of your lawn.
Watch the Fertilizer
You might be surprised to learn that using too much fertilizer, or the wrong variety, can also lead to fungus infestations in a lawn.
This is why it’s best to follow the “less is more approach,” using a small amount of fertilizer and gradually applying more as needed.
Bag Your Clippings, Don’t Mulch
When mowing your grass, don’t use mulch it back onto your lawn. Rather, bag the clippings to dispose of them elsewhere.
If there’s fungus present on your lawn, mulching will only shoot the fungus back onto your lawn. By bagging the clippings, however, you can contain and remove it.
If you believe your lawn is suffering from a fungus infestation, you should conduct a soil test to identify any nutrient deficiencies, which will also help to diagnose the exact type of fungus.
In addition, you should aerate your lawn so it’s able to “breathe” more easily. Highly compacted soil is a haven for fungus, so make sure your lawn is properly aerated.
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