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It can be disheartening to see your fresh green grass battling with disease. Anthracnose is one plant infection that spreads easily.
Anthracnose is usually associated with lawns that suffer heat damage in mid-summer, but it can also develop in spring and fall. Anthracnose can coexist with other diseases such as summer spot disease and Rhizoctonia brown spot.
It is a common disease of annual bentgrass and bluegrass. We will be covering everything on how to get rid of Anthracnose in the lawn shortly.
What Is Anthracnose?
Anthracnose is the common name for a group of fungal diseases that affect not only lawns but also the leaves of other plants, including fruit trees, vegetable crops and other decorative plants. In lawns it is often caused by the fungus Colletotrichum graminicola.
The fungus infects blades of grass, producing yellow and red lesions. This disease can also significantly affect the crown and roots of the lawn plant, ultimately leading to the wilting of the plant.
They change color and die. The fungus that causes anthracnose usually lies dormant on infected plant debris during the winter before springing back to life in spring. The disease can spread when the spores of the fungus produce acervuli, the fruiting bodies of the fungus which can then be spread from one area to another by contaminated water, clippers or shoes.
Types Of Grass Affected By Anthracnose
Annual bluegrass and creeping bentgrass are the most susceptible grasses. Other grasses that can infect anthracnose include: Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, Bermuda grass, Centipede Grass, Fine-Leaf Fescue, Tall Fescue, Zoysia Grass
How To Identify Anthracnose In Lawns
The fungus that causes anthracnose disease in lawns is called Colletotrichum cereale (formerly Colletotrichum graminicola). Anthracnose symptoms can appear as leaf blight or basal blight.
Leaf blight is limited to the leaves and causes the leaves to appear yellow to reddish brown. Basal rot is more destructive than leaf rot, causing leaf sheaths, stolons, and crowns to darken and rot.
Remember that anthracnose symptoms can look different depending on the grass species affected. For example, in annual bluegrass, anthracnose symptoms appear as light yellow spots in sporadic patterns on the lawn.
Bentgrass affected by anthracnose appears as yellow, red, or brown spots of any size. Even the temperature in your city can change the way Anthracnose is displayed over time.
So what is a reliable way to detect anthracnose in the lawn? A general rule of thumb is to check the blades of grass.
Anthracnose begins in the crown region (the base of the herb, where the root and shoot connect) of the plant. Over time, it turns brown until the roots and lower part of the stem base turn black.
When the stems and crowns are turned all the way back, the shoots separate easily from the crowns. After this, the culms of the herb turn yellowish, starting at the leaf tip and moving towards the sheaths and young leaves.
Some of the basic physical characteristics of anthracnose in grass are:
- Yellow, red, and bronze patches of grass that turn brown over time.
- Long, red to brown markings with yellowish circles on grass blades.
- leaves, and pods turning black.
- Appearance of the grass crown tissue as soaked
What Causes Anthracnose In The Lawn?
First of all, anthracnose is caused by several different fungi that affect different types of plants, vegetables and fruits. But specifically on lawns, the main culprit is Colletotrichum cereale.
Beyond the fungus itself, treating your lawn or not treating it will have some impact on the manifestation and spread of anthracnose. Some of these common lawn problems can contribute to conditions that favor anthracnose:
- High temperatures and humid weather conditions
- Overgrown straw
- Leaves exposed to water for a long time
- Drought conditions
- Poor drainage
- Cool temperatures in early spring
- Lots of foot or vehicle traffic on the lawn
- Soil compaction
- Inadequate fertilization
- Long periods of leaf wetness
- Low mowing heights
How To Get Rid Of Anthracnose In The Lawn
Want to know how to get rid of Anthracnose on the lawn? You’ll have to remove whatever made your lawn so attractive to disease in the first place.
Was it watering the lawn at night instead of in the morning?
The key to eliminating anthracnose is changing your lawn care routine. If anthracnose is growing in your garden, here are some remedial measures you can take:
Read Also: 4 Ways To Remove Lawn Grass
Correct Your Fertilization Schedule
If your lawn isn’t getting enough nutrients, you may find it difficult to grow a healthy lawn. Carrying out a soil test is the best way to determine what nutrients your lawn needs.
Loosen Compacted Soil On Your Lawn With An Aerator
Compact soil restricts the root system’s access to water, nutrients and oxygen.
Remove Excess Straw
A thick layer of straw on your lawn can harbor fungi.
Water Early In The Morning Rather Than At Night.
If you water at night, the water will cling to the grass and create a moist environment for fungi.
Use Fungicides As A Last Resort
If the disease continues to spread despite the maintenance adjustments you make, use a fungicide containing propiconazole or azoxystrobin with propiconazole.
How To Prevent Anthracnose (And Other Diseases) In The Lawn
Kill Anthracnose Before It Starts
It can be difficult to get rid of anthracnose once it has taken over your lawn, so using a fungicide as a preventive measure will give you much more success. Timing is important, so apply a product labeled for anthracnose before the spores have a chance to germinate, usually in spring.
Many products are formulated to work early in the disease cycle. For a more accurate time for your region, contact your local branch office.
If you have seen anthracnose on your lawn in the last few years, focus application on those areas.
Act Fast, Rotate, And Re-Apply Fungicides
Controlling and eliminating anthracnose can be difficult once it has taken root in your lawn. Therefore, if you notice the symptoms of anthracnose, start treatment immediately.
You can try controlling anthracnose with a specially formulated fungicide. Applying a fungicide to other areas of your lawn can help prevent the disease from spreading.
You may need to reapply fungicides several times to gain lasting control of anthracnose. Walk away if you see symptoms again, but be sure to read your fungicide label carefully and follow usage guidelines.
Remember that if you can’t get rid of active anthracnose, you can start preventive use next spring to prevent it from reappearing. Treating this difficult disease requires more than a quick spray of fungicide.
You’ve learned what causes anthracnose. Consider these causes as suggestions for treatment, from relieving compacted soil to improving fertilization.
Of course, you have the option of using traditional anthracnose chemicals that kill fungi, but you must combine preventative fungicide applications with proper lawn care. If you must use a fungicide against anthracnose, use one that contains propiconazole or azoxystrobin with propiconazole.
Follow these steps to curb this lawn-wrecking nuisance:
Water your lawn three to four days before applying fertilizer so the grass is moist enough to absorb the nutrients from the fertilizer. Also make sure you fertilize your lawn at the right time.
Lawns in the warm season should be fertilized in late spring or early summer.
If you have cool season grass, fertilize in early spring or early fall.
It’s a good idea to test the quality of your soil so you can choose a more suitable fertilizer and develop an ideal routine for your lawn.
Aerate The Lawn
Aeration helps reduce soil compaction. Compacted soil damages the roots of your weed because dense soil negatively affects the grass’s ability to hold moisture, breathe, and absorb nutrients.
When you aerate your lawn, you create small holes in the soil that allow the roots to get what they need. Other interesting benefits of aeration besides combating lawn diseases include:
1. Increases deep growth of root systems
2. Decreases thatch accumulation
3. Promotes better drainage
4. Encourages earthworms
Loose soil is better for earthworms to carry out beneficial soil processes such as improving your soil structure and controlling the accumulation of straw.
Plant Resistant Strains
Depending on where you live and the climate, certain types of weed strains may be resistant to fungal diseases. Find out if you need to plant warm or cool season grass in your area.
Remember these grasses are commonly affected by anthracnose: perennial ryegrass, Bermuda grass, Centipede grass, Kentucky bluegrass, Fine-leaf fescue, Zoysia grass.
Thatch can be beneficial for your lawn, but if left overgrown and untidy it is a breeding ground for fungus and disease. Thatch is a layer of living and dead plant matter that sits on top of the earth’s surface.
This is good for the lawn, but too much straw will clog the lawn and prevent it from absorbing important nutrients, water and sunlight. Too much straw is a good place for anthracnose to hide and grow.
Thaw warm-season lawns in late spring or early summer and cover cool-season lawns in early fall.
Water Your Lawn At The Right Time
The best time to water your lawn is early in the morning before 8 a.m. This ensures sufficient moisture absorption before the afternoon sun evaporates the water.
The reason is because your lawn has a hard time drying out overnight, creating favorable conditions for disease.
Removing Grass Clippings
It is important to remove grass clippings when your lawn has an anthracnose outbreak. Infected clippings spread the disease throughout the lawn
Reseed The Lawn
If your lawn gets thinner every year, the trick is to plant new grass seeds before the grass thins out. Regular overseeding promotes a dense, bushy lawn.
What Other Grass Diseases Can Infect My Lawn?
It would be a relief if only one disease could infect your grass, right? But several lawn diseases can infect your turf, which is why it’s so important to keep your lawn healthy.
Various lawn diseases can be a pain in the yard, including:
Gray snow mold
Pink snow mold
Because anthracnose is often associated with poor drainage and compaction, any management practice that alleviates these conditions, such as such as ventilation, traffic diversion, reducing irrigation, and pruning or removing trees generally help reduce disease.
To get rid of Anthracnose in the lawn, try the suggestions in the article and you’ll see a huge difference in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Neem Oil Work On Anthracnose?
Neem Oil 70% is an effective fungicide for the prevention and control of various fungal diseases including Anthracnose.
How Do You Get Rid Of Anthracnose In Soil?
Destroy any infected plants in your garden.
You can try spraying your plants with a copper-based fungicide, but exercise caution because copper can build up to toxic levels in the soil for microbes.
How Long Does Anthracnose Stay In The Soil?
Anthracnose spores are able to live in the soil for three to nine months. The spores spread rapidly, germinating quickly in as little as two to four hours when conditions are favorable.
Does Anthracnose Overwinter?
Anthracnose fungi typically overwinter in infected leaves on the ground.
Is Anthracnose And Fruit Rot Same?
Anthracnose fruit rot is caused by the fungus Colletotrichum acutatum.