Turf Disease or Summer Heat Stress: How To Identify Turf Problems

Summer is the time when growing cool-season turf in this region can be challenging. Grasses such as fescue, bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass are all considered cool-season turfgrasses and struggle from disease and summer stress. Summer stress is based on heat and drought conditions. As we go through the summer, it is important to keep up with proper watering and be on thebrown patch lookout for disease and turfgrass under summer stress. The challenge with summer lawn stress is that it may appear to be a turf disease. Some of the most common lawn stresses that appear in the summer are Heat Stress and Drought Stress, both of which can turn your lawn brown, making them easily confused with turf disease.

Turf Diseases You Might See

Brown Patch, Dollar Spot, and Leaf Spot

Distinguishing among the different turfgrass diseases can be a great challenge due to the similarities in their appearance. Turfgrass diseases when inspected closely, typically have small brown lesions and irregular pattern formations. More detailed information about these diseases is available on our website. Lawns that are dry and/or under heat stress show signs on a bigger scale. Also, summer stress patterns may occur under certain conditions including but not limited to full sun exposure, lawn slope, compact soils, and poor soil conditions.  

Identifying Heat and Drought Stress This Summer:

Water is critical to the growth of all plants, not just turfgrass. Water is a key part of photosynthesis and respiration reactions, as well as many other plant metabolic activities. Turfgrass leaves and shoots are comprised of approximately 80% water. A lack of water (rainfall or irrigation) leads to a decrease in growth due to a decrease in photosynthesis and plant respiration and an increase in plant temperature (lack of transpirational cooling; analogous to humans not being able to sweat).

Each turf species responds to drought differently. Some grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass enter a summer dormancy when soils begin to dry. Summer dormancy is a process where the brown patches of grass plant stops growing and turns brown (dormant), but the turf is not dead. When rainfall returns following drought, Kentucky bluegrass will emerge from summer dormancy and resume normal growth. Other turfgrasses such as tall fescue and perennial ryegrass maintain more of their color, but top growth slows reducing mowing frequency. Some of the most obvious signs of dry conditions are when the grass blades wilt and the turfgrass shows signs of purple coloring prior to browning. Another sign of dry conditions is when footprints or tire tracks from the mower do not bounce back and are visible for a prolonged period of time.  

Choose Us! The Professionals At Nuleaf Have You Covered

With everything that has been going on the past year and a half, it is likely that you will want to be out and about… Not at home worrying about turf diseases and how you can make your lawn the best it can be. With Nuleaf, you can leave the work up to us. We are trained and armed with years of experience to take care of any lawn issue you might have.

When you are ready to take the next step with your lawn, check out our lawn care program and turf disease control program. If you are looking to go a step further, we also offer our clients a plant healthcare program.

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