Powdery Mildew: Common Lawn Diseases
Sprinkling icing sugar on a chocolate lava cake or flour on a warm loaf of bread can look beautiful on these tasty treats. However, white powder dusting your lawn doesn’t have the same magical effect as it does on food. This white powder is called powdery mildew and is a fungal disease that can affect many different plants, including turfgrass. If left unchecked, the disease can spread and leave you with dead patches on your lawn.
Causes of Powdery Mildew
Many people forget that grass is a plant that loves the sun. Growing grass in partial shade is possible, however, it does leave your grass susceptible to more diseases such as powdery mildew. The low light provides the perfect growing conditions for mildew. The lack of sunlight means moisture doesn’t dry as quickly. In addition, poor air circulation allows relative humidity levels to be quite high. This is when powdery mildew begins growing. First, it starts as little lighter spots on the blades of grass. Soon, it’ll begin to look like the powder that gives it its name.
Now that you know what causes powdery mildew, how do you treat it? The best way to treat powdery mildew is by removing the elements that caused it in the first place. Although some people find fungicides work well for them, the only truly fail-safe option is by bettering the growing conditions for your grass.
Avoiding Powdery Mildew
Half the battle to eradicating and avoiding diseases like powdery mildew is by improving the conditions of the area affected. Since this fungal disease loves damp, humid areas with low airflow, we know exactly what will ensure this disease never bothers you again. Ensuring you are watering your grass carefully, perfecting drainage, and increasing airflow are great steps to take.
Watering your Grass
Instead of watering your grass often and for short periods of time, water your grass infrequently and deeply. This will encourage deep root growth and help your grass blades from being damp for a long time more often. It is also important to note the optimal time to water your grass is in the morning. Watering grass in the morning allows time for the water to dry before nightfall. It also avoids the excessive evaporation that takes place when watering in the heat of the day. Leaving grass blades damp for long periods of time by watering in the evening provides excellent growing conditions for powdery mildew.
Your grass blades may be remaining damp for a longer period of time due to improper drainage. Aerating will give the grass roots room to breathe and improve drainage to help the grass dry faster after a deep watering. Check out this post by Briggs & Stratton for some lawn aeration information.
It is also essential to improve airflow and sun penetration. This will create a less optimal growing environment for powdery mildew and a better growing environment for your grass.
Though these are some great tips on eradicating powdery mildew, check out this blog if you are dealing with Rust Fungus. A healthy lawn is the best way to combat diseases like powdery mildew. Ensure you are aerating your lawn one to two times per year, watering regularly and properly, and allowing adequate access to sunlight and fresh air. Following these tips will guarantee you a gorgeous, lush, disease-free lawn!