As temperatures are starting to rise and the summer solstice is upon us, our turf experts are noticing a rise in cases of Ascochyta in the region. Ascochyta is a grass fungus and form of leaf blight that impacts Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass and tall fescue. Damaged grass appears yellow or bleached, and is particularly noticeable in the mower track. Damage often seems to occur overnight and those unfamiliar with the problem often believe that their lawn has been damaged by a herbicide or similar chemical.
The Ascochyta fungus grows during wet conditions with lots of rain. During wet periods, the fungus spores spread throughout the lawn. Then as temperatures rise, the fungus quickly damages the stressed grass plant.
This year, our turf experts have been seeing damage for the last several weeks. Corporate sites with large, unshaded areas and uncovered athletic fields are particularly vulnerable. Residential sites are also being impacted but only in full sun areas.
The bad news is that there is no current treatment for Ascochyta. The good news is that impacted grasses typically recovers on theirown, with even severely damaged areas making a full recovery in three to four weeks. Raising the mower deck during your next mow may reduce the spread of the fungus while the grass plant works to recover.
For lawns that haven’t yet been impacted, continuing with a comprehensive turf health plan is the best prevention. A lawn that has been properly watered (with about an inch of moisture per week) and properly fed (with a balanced lawn application program) will be less susceptible to stress and will give your grass plant the best opportunity to continue to thrive during the difficult summer months.
If you have any questions about the health of your residential lawn or commercial site, don’t hesitate to reach out to our turf professionals for a free inspection by clicking HERE.