There’s no doubt we’ve experienced more rain than normal this summer, with more than 20 inches of rain falling April – July. In fact, according to the National Weather service, Atlanta got 7.71 inches of rain during the month of June alone – which is almost double the 30-year average. And we’ve been seeing the side effects of the rainy and humid weather conditions, as the excess moisture fosters the growth of unwanted fungus in both warm and cool season turf grass. Specifically, more Dollar Spot and Brown Patch are appearing in our local landscapes.
Dollar Spot is very common fungus affecting Bermuda grass throughout the Southeast. It’s caused by a fungus that lives in the soil and thrives in warm, moist conditions. Dollar Spot can be identified by the small white or straw-colored circles that are approximately the size of a silver dollar coin. If left untreated, Dollar Spots can spread throughout your turf, and multiple spots can converge into large patches of discolored grass.
Brown Patch is one of the most common diseases affecting turf in the Southeast, and affects cool-season grasses such as tall fescue, ryegrass, bluegrass and bentgrass. Brown Patch areas can range from a few inches to several feet in diameter. If left untreated, the brown patches may overlap and it can become hard to identify the circular shape. For more information on identifying and preventing Brown Patch, click here.
While we can’t control the rain and humidity, there are some proactive ways we prevent the likelihood of Dollar Spot and Brown Patch. For example, at Handy Andy Outdoors, we know that cutting grass with a sharp blade keeps turf healthy and strong, making it turf less vulnerable to any type of fungus. That’s why we sharpen our mower blades every single day during grass cutting season. We also help reduce thatch build-up by bagging our grass clippings. Clients can also help strengthen turf by scheduling annual aeration for their lawns.
Even given these measures, Dollar Spot and Brown Patch are not 100% preventable. If symptoms of Dollar Spot or Brown Patch appear in your lawn, we’ll inspect the affected area and provide a recommendation designed to minimize damage and prevent spread, which may include application of a high nitrogen fertilizer or fungicide treatment.