Common Lawn Diseases That Occur in Spring


Nobody likes seeing dying patches of grass in their lawn. Often times, these dying patches of grass are the results of lawn disease or lawn fungus. It’s an unsightly view that, if not dealt with quickly, can ruin an entire lawn.

The good news is you can be ready! By identifying these diseases early, you can stop them before they spread. Ultimately saving your lawn and saving you time and money!


Here’s how to identify common lawn diseases that can occur in spring

1. Fairy Ring (Marasmius Oreades)

Fairy ring is a most common lawn disease that appears in spring due to the fact that it thrives in cool, rainy weather. This is an easy lawn disease to identify, as white mushrooms can appear on the outside edges of the ring. The grass will also turn tan with slight hints of green within. These irregular rings are caused by the fungi’s release of nitrogen which doesn’t affect the grass itself but, breaks down important nutrients in the soil.

What causes fairy rings?

Fairy ring is caused by dead or dying organic matter in the soil, which serves as the starting point for this fungus. Thatch also serves as the fuel to this fungi’s flame. The key to fairy ring prevention involves keeping a clean yard, dethatching, and aerating to alleviate soil compaction and remove dead organic matter within the grass.


2. Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia Solani)

Affecting cool-seasoned grasses like bluegrass and bentgrasses, brown patch is one of the most common late spring/early summer lawn diseases. It looks like large circular and irregular patches of dead grass. The grass often appears like it has suffered from drought and dried out. The biggest problem you will face with brown patch is that it spreads at a rapid pace. As soon as you notice those irregular patches of dead/dry grass on your lawn, you’ll want to act immediately.

How to prevent brown patches on your lawn:

The key to brown patch prevention is good lawn care practices, especially when it comes to watering. Never over-water your lawn, as sitting moisture can spark the brown patch fungus. Also, make sure your lawn is draining water properly. If it is not, it may be the result of thatch buildup, which can be fixed by dethatching and aerating!


3. Dollar Spot (Clarireedia Homoeocarpa)

Dollar spot is another common lawn disease that occurs in spring. Also affecting cool-seasoned grasses like bermudagrass and fescue, dollar spot is most apparent in the summer when temperatures rise rapidly and the humidity is high. Dollar spot looks like small patches of dead grass on your lawn (about the size of a dollar coin). These dead patches will be a light tan, almost appearing as if they’re a bleached-white. This disease is most prevalent after cool, rainy nights.

How to treat dollar spots on your lawn:

The key to dollar spot prevention is proper lawn care practices. If dollar spot becomes apparent in your lawn, apply a fungicide as this will aid in fighting the disease while helping the grass recover quickly. Also, keep your lawn clear of leaves and debris as they can trap moisture for extended periods of time, sparking fungi like dollar spot.


4. Red Thread (Laetisaria Fuciformis) – Most Common in the Spring

Red thread fungus thrives in the spring where moisture levels are high and temperatures are mild. This fungus is one of the easiest to correct as the nitrogen in fertilizer helps it “grow out”. As soon as red thread is identified, preventative measures should be put in place right away.

How to treat Red Thread fungus on your lawn:

The good news is red thread is one of the easiest lawn diseases to identify. It will appear as small-medium irregular patches of dead grass, however up close you will see that there is a red coloring to the affected areas (this is the fungus growing). The best way to treat red thread is to apply a fungicide, but a balanced fertilizer that is slightly higher in nitrogen will also aid in red thread prevention.


Best Cultural Practices to Avoid Lawn Disease

  1. Mow grass to a minimum of 3″
  2. Always water in the morning – watering at night promotes lawn diseases
  3. Like any lawn issue, if you notice something that doesn’t look right, call us right away. The quicker we can diagnose the issue, the better chance we have at correcting it quickly.


Lawn Disease Prevention & Control Services

LawnMatters offers both preventative and curative fungicide treatments for lawn diseases. Contact us here, or call to hear more about how we can help you eliminate AND prevent lawn diseases and lawn fungus from affecting your lawn!

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