The northeast is having a very different summer than the one of the hot and dry 2020. The summer of 2021 has been excessively warm, humid, and wet. These conditions are a breeding ground for many turf-related diseases and other problems. Many of the northeast states are under a tropical storm watch today which is going to exacerbate the warm and wet conditions. Lawn problems that arise from a warm and wet summer can be prevented. Follow our tips below for prevention and recovery from lawn problems that arise from a warm and wet summer.
Lawn Problems that Arise from a Warm and Wet Summer
Preventing Turf Diseases from Warm and Wet Weather
The most common turf diseases that pop up when warm and weather is rampant are fungal diseases. Fungus thrives in warm and damp places and becomes particularly problematic when temperatures remain consistently between seventy and ninety degrees. The northeast has had that range of temperatures for several weeks now. Keep an eye out for Brown Spot Fungus which is the most common fungal disease on turf. Brown Spot is identified by the irregular circular patches it leaves. They can be anywhere from six inches to several feet in diameter.
Other things that can cause fungal turf disease include lack of air, poor soil, poor drainage, compacted soil, and excessive thatch. To prevent Brown Spot and other fungal turf diseases do not over-fertilize, use proper watering practices, and improve your lawn’s air circulation. If fungal diseases have already taken control, apply fungicides where appropriate. Fungicides should be applied immediately after symptoms appear, especially if extended hot and humid weather is expected.
Warm, Wet Weather and Lawn Insects
Lawns that are not pretreated with insecticides before summer starts are susceptible to damage from insects. Pest infestations combined with excess water weaken grass at the root. The most common summer lawn pest that pops in hot and humid conditions is grubs. They eat grassroots and can do a lot of unseen damage if not kept in check. Check out our article about preventing grubs here. The best way, however, to prevent grubs is to pretreat before summer with an insecticide.
Preventing Pythium Blight
Another common turf disease caused by hot and humid weather is Pythium Blight. It is especially common on golf course turf. If the conditions are favorable for Pythium Blight, it can destroy a whole stand of turfgrass in a few days or less. Pythium Blight loves hot and humid weather and develops in low areas or swales in the turfgrass. The first signs of this disease are small, irregular spots that are half-inch to 4 inches in diameter. On the golf course, these patches usually appear in ruts from golf carts and mowing equipment.
The turfgrass on these spots will look water-soaked. They will also feel greasy or slimy. Eventually, the turf will turn a light brown or grey color. If the humidity is particularly high, the grass may end up covered in a white, cobweb-like mold called Mycelium. Like Brown Spot, Pythium Blight can be treated with the use of fungicides. Try to apply it at the first signs of the disease as timing is critical in controlling its spread.