What is Fusarium Blight?
Fusarium Blight is probably one of the most difficult disease's to eliminate from a lawn At this point in time it is believed to be a group of fungi and or bacteria that live in the soil and create a Donut shaped dead spots in the grass.
Typically you can tell Fusarium blight by the Donut shaped ring, the center of the donut is often green with the dead ring part depressed. As the disease worsens these depressed circles coalesce together making diagnosis more difficult. This disease favors lawns with poor root systems and heavy thatch. It seems to be most prevalent on sodded lawns that have not developed a good root system, and or are under moisture stress. This disease is most prevalent during the summer months when temps exceed 80 degrees, but it has been found active in cooler temps. .
What Can I do?
Fusarium prefers Hot Dry weather, Start watering immediately - heavily! Watering does 2 things, it helps keep alive the weaken grass thru the summer. Water also cools the grass down - reducing the favorable conditions for Fusarium. One should water 1-2 times weekly 3/4 -1 hr. per location.
Chemical controls do exist for this disease but they are expensive and need to be applied on a weekly basis until the weather favorable for the disease passes. Fungicides are almost always protective, not curative. The material "Protects" the plant from further infections, but does little to cure the disease.
Core aeration - Since this disease favors Lawns with thatch and poor root systems Coring is the best long term solution. Coring should be done in the fall and possibly the Spring to reduce that thatch layer as soon as possible and help the lawn develop a deep root system. Call Earth Care at 630-231-8940.
Watering - One should always water heavily but infrequently. The goal is train the lawn to look for water by placing it deeper into the soil profile. If you are watering every other day for 15 mins you are creating a environment favorable to Fusarium. Here is what happens. Frequent light Watering only gets the moisture at best just thru the thatch layer. This cause's the grass plant to develop its root system where the moisture is easily accessible, which in turn creates more thatch. Eventually so much thatch has developed that even a heavy watering may not penetrate that thatch layer. As the Temperature increase and the moisture demands become more, the grass cannot find what it needs because the majority of its root system is near the surface where the moisture has been used up and or evaporated. This puts the grass in stress and sets it up for Fusarium Blight. One rarely finds Serious Fusarium on seeded lawn areas unless the above conditions have been created, because seeded lawns develop a deep root system, to find the moisture it needs... it is that or die.
Mowing - especially with Fursarium one should mow at 2.5 - 3"
Fertilization: Studies have shown that excessive Fertilization can promote this problem - especially if repeated applications of fast release Fertilizers are used. If you are getting 5-6 or 7 applications a year you can bet that some or all of those applications are fast release materials.
Earth Care's Fertilization program uses only slow release fertilzers. We apply 4 times per yr, and provide the same nutrient levels as those doing 5-6 or 7 applications per yr. CALL Earth Care now for a free Quote!
NOTE: Even if one follows all of the above it is likely that Fursaium will get alittle worse before it gets better. Like most things it takes time for the Turf to adjust, for thatch levels to decline, and for the over all health of the Turf to improve.
What can Earth Care Do?
Earth Care has the equipment to Core aerate your lawn. If the damage is severe we can repair the damaged area using seed more resistant to Fusarium. Earth Care does not Recommend re- sodding, as often the sod ends up getting Fusarium. This is because Sod can be easily stressed when 1st installed, if not watered heavily enough. Remember the causal agent is in the soil, and with the right conditions it will be back!.
CAll EARTH CARE - our Standard Fertilization program uses slow release materials in every application - unlike our competitors. We only need to apply 4 times a year to give your lawn what it need to thrive.