Summer is officially just a few days away and the Chicagoland area has already seen warmer than normal temperatures and record-setting rainfall (for May). The combination of these two weather patterns, heavy rains followed by extended hot/dry periods, create the perfect conditions for diseases in our turf.
One of those diseases is Ascochyta Leaf Blight (pictured above). This particular disease hit lawns, throughout the Chicagoland area, hard last year and looks to be rearing its ugly head again this year (particularly in southern territories).
As a proactive reminder, Ascochyta Leaf Blight is NOT a permanent turf disease and will go away over a period of time. If you start to see areas of your lawn looking this way give them roughly two to three weeks to recover, as Ascochyta Blight is a foliar (leaf) disease and not a root disease.
There are a few ways to help offset these conditions from severely affecting your lawn in the future, they are:
Core Aeration Services - Core aeration is the process of mechanically removing plugs or "cores" of soil and thatch from your lawn. Core aeration reduces soil compaction and creates a channel through which oxygen, water, and nutrients can properly penetrate into the soil. By core aerating your lawn, at least once per season, you are providing better penetration of rainwater and overall drainage. Core Aeration services, combined with a proper maintenance plan, will help prevent the spread of fungal diseases such as Ascochyta Blight.
Proper Lawn Maintenance Plan - As always, try to maintain a grass height between 2.5" and 3" (inches). If you find that a disease, like Ascochyta Blight, is present on your lawn, decrease your mowing frequency and increase your mowing height. Another way to fight off lawn and turf diseases is to avoid mowing during wet weather. Wet conditions can harm your turf and provide more points where infectious pathogens can enter the leaf.
Fertilizing - Lastly, avoid excessive nitrogen fertilization, particularly around the Spring time. In addition to proper fertilizing techniques, it is incredibly important to try to maintain a uniform soil moisture and good drainage (as discussed above in Core Aeration Services)
If your lawn or turf could benefit from a core aeration, give us a call at 708-331-4911 or email email@example.com to speak to one of our lawn maintenance experts.