April showers bring May flowers, and unfortunately May showers can bring out turf grass diseases. There are three components needed for a disease to develop.
HOST: The grass plant itself. You must have a susceptible host plant in order for the disease to cause damage. Some plants such as turf-type tall fescue are not susceptible to common diseases.
PATHOGEN: This is the disease or fungus. Most disease organisms are present in the thatch layer all year long. The fungus is activated by just the right combination of temperatures and moisture. This is why we see most diseases during the summer months when it is warm and wet.
ENVIRONMENT: As previously explained, it takes a perfect environmental storm to activate any disease. Overcast days, poor air circulation, higher daytime and nighttime temperatures, and excessive moisture all contribute to potential disease development.
For turf grass professionals, diagnosis is easy because most diseases look just like their names: red thread, leaf spot, dollar spot and fairy ring to name just a few.
Solutions are not so easy. We cannot change the environment, the pathogen is always present, and changing grass varieties (the host) is not a simple process. Contact your lawn specialist for proper diagnosis and recommendations.