Dollar Spot

Dollar spot from a distance looks like a collection of silver dollar size, tannish brown to whitish spots. The spots can be anywhere from 1-5 inches in diameter and can combine to make larger areas of diseased grass. Turf will appear to be speckled or molted. Up close it will have hourglass lesions on leaves bleached in the center with tan to red-brown margins.

Ideal conditions for dollar spot are warm days (60-90 F) and cool nights (above 50 F). The turf will have a prolonged leaf wetness from dew, high humidity or late night irrigation watering. In the mornings, affected areas will show cobweb-like threads. Consult an expert if you are unsure of what type of lawn disease you may have.

Prevention/control: Fertilize effectively; try to reduce the amount of thatch; make sure that your grass is getting the right amount of water.

Fairy Ring

Fairy rings from a distance appear to have large circles or arches that can be 1-30 feet in diameter. The outer band will be dark green and lush turf. Mushrooms may be present and an area of dark brown, dying grass or dirt may appear behind the dark green band. Up close the appearance is white fungal strands in the soil and thatch behind the actively growing ring.

The ideal conditions are cool temperatures between 45-60 F that are high in thatch. In some cases, the affected areas must be dug out and refilled with clean soil and then reseeded or resodded. If you think you might have fairy ring, contact your fertilizer company to discuss a plan.

Prevention/control: Have your lawn aerated to provide better water penetration; rake infected area to get rid of mushrooms and excess thatch; speak to a professional to determine a proper watering regimen.

Leaf Spot

Leaf Spot up close appears to have oblong dark spots with tan centers that are surrounded by a yellow, brown, or reddish brown margin on the leaves, sheaths, and stems. Lesions appear as spots or blotches near the leaf tip and vary in color from grayish green to purple. Roots of affected grasses often have a dark brown rot to them.

The turf from a distance appears yellow and thin with irregular patches of tan to reddish brown turf. This usually occurs in wet moist environments with cool to warm weather and high humidity. Leaf spot may occur from too much or too little fertilization. If you have diagnosed leaf spot or if you need help diagnosing a lawn disease, contact FertPlus today.

Prevention/control: Try to reduce the amount of shade your lawn gets; aerate your lawn; make sure the grass has proper water drainage and set lawnmower height higher than normal.

Necrotic Ring Spot

Necrotic ring spot is a perennial disease of Kentucky bluegrass that appears to be light green to yellow patches 3-24 inches across or rings with green, healthy turf or weeds recolonizing infection centers. Necrotic ring spot up close looks light tan and matted patches with blackened roots which can be easily removed from the soil. Infected grass blades are tan-yellow and die from the tip down. Necrotic ring spot is sometimes referred to as “frog-eye” because of its appearance.

Ideal conditions are cool to warm wet weather on turf that is approximately 2-4 years old. Sodded lawns are more susceptible to necrotic ring spot, but seeded lawns may get it as well. Stress and compaction along with drought and high temperatures (+80 F) enhance symptom expression. Contact Fertilizer Plus if you have any questions regarding your lawn.

Prevention/control: Necrotic ring can be very difficult to control once it has infected your lawn. Rings may be dug out with a shovel, but take extra precaution so that you don’t spread the spores. Consult a professional for advice on adequate watering plans and mowing heights.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew is a disease with large, irregular patches of turf that appear to be dusted with white powder. It is one of the most easily recognizable plant and grass diseases and it affects virtually all kinds of plants. There are many different kinds of powdery mildew, but they all show similar symptoms on pants and turfgrass. When you look very close to the leaf surface it will appear to be white to light gray powdery fungal strands. Infected leaves turn from yellow to tan then brown.

The ideal conditions for powdery mildew is cool (55-72 F), cloudy, humid weather with severe shade and no air circulation. Younger grasses are more susceptible than older ones and occurrences happen more often as humidity rises to 90 percent.

Prevention/control: Avoid late-summer fertilizers unless otherwise instructed by a professional. Ensure that the correct amount of water is applied to the lawn. In some cases, the infected grass will need to be removed. If you think your lawn has powdery mildew, don’t hesitate to contact FertPlus as soon as possible.

Red Thread

Red Thread from a distance looks like circular or irregular patches red to tan in color and about 1.5-20 inches in diameter. Infected leaves will look scorched starting from the tip down. On cool, wet days, “red threads” protrude from leaf tips. To identify red thread, look for pink fungal crusts sticking up from the leaves. The fungus is aggressive and can take over the leaf within two days of infection.

Favorable conditions are cool (60-75 F) and wet and is transferred very easily. Red thread appears on grasses lacking nitrogen where excessive irrigation or rainfall occurs. It is often found right next to pink patch.

Prevention/control: Preventing red thread comes down to the right mix of watering and fertilizer. You want to make sure that your lawn is getting the proper nitrogen in order to prevent red thread from forming. Reducing the amount of shade your lawn gets can also help to prevent and control red thread.


All grasses are susceptible to the rust disease, so make sure you are aware of what causes rust as well as how to control it. Rust thins and weakens the turf while covering it with an orange-red dust. Up close the turf will have yellow, orange, red, or brown pustules that elongate parallel to the leaf vein of stems. The powder that exists form rust will discolor your shoes and clothing.

Rust usually occurs during warm nights (70-75 F) with wet leaves and low light intensity. Lawns that are lacking nitrogen have an increased chance of developing rust. The most severe cases are mid to late summer when turf is not actively growing or under stress.

Prevention/control: Consult a professional to develop a fertilizer and irrigation plan for your lawn. To prevent and control the formation of rust, be sure to mow your grass regularly and remove infected grass clippings to reduce the number of spores that are in your lawn.

Snow Mold

Snow mold appears to be orange-brown to bleached to light gray in color and forms in circular patches 2-10 inches in diameter. Prolonged periods of deep snow cover favor this disease as well as not mowing your lawn short enough in the fall.

Soil that is wet and problem grasses like bentgrass and rough bluegrass are very vulnerable to snow mold. Wet turf has water soaked spots with a pink outer margin. Dry turf has bleached spots and matted turf. The best conditions for snow mold are cool wet weather where there has been snow or frozen ground from late fall to late spring.

Prevention/control: Mow your lawn late into the season and cut at a short height around 2 inches long, with sharp blades, so that the grass isn’t long enough to fall over and sit atop of itself. Getting your lawn aerated will also prevent snow mold by getting more oxygen into the soil.

Spring / Fall Leaf Spot

Spring/fall leaf spot, or dead spot, forms in circular areas 6-12 inches in diameter usually in spring when grass starts to grow again. The dead spots can combine to make large areas of dead grass and the disease usually affects grass more than 2 years old. Turf appears to be thin and yellow with irregular patches of tan to reddish brown turf resembling a lawn cut by a dull mower.

Leaves have oblong dark spots with tan centers that are surrounded by a yellow, brown, or reddish brown margin. Dieback is usually from the tip downward. Ideal conditions are cool/warm, wet weather. Spring/fall leaf spot is easily transferred to new locations.

Prevention/control: Remove the dead grass from your lawn and be sure to water at suitable times during the summer. Fertilizer Plus can develop a fertilizer plan for you to ensure that the correct amount of fertilizer is applied all throughout summer.

Summer Patch

Summer Patch is yellow to straw colored circular patches about 2-20 inches in diameter. It is slow growing, thin or wilted turf that sometimes can have green, somewhat, healthy growth in the center. Up close it appears to be grayish green to yellow. As you get near the roots the turf turns darker with brownish black roots.

Ideal during hot days that go into the night with rainy conditions. Summer patch occurs in high temperatures at or above 85 F in the late spring and throughout summer. Mowing your lawn too short or watering too much can make summer patch worse. Summer patch is easily spread throughout the yard.

Prevention/control: Aerating the soil and making sure your lawn has sufficient drainage can help to prevent summer patch. Consult FertPlus for help in creating the right plan for fertilizing, watering, and mowing your lawn.


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