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When it comes to dealing with lawn diseases, the old saying holds true, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." It's easier to prevent lawn diseases than to cure them. As winter gives way to spring, follow these basic guidelines for a strong lawn that can resist fungal diseases.
Nutrient deficiency weakens grass plants, so feed at least two times a year to keep your lawn strong and vigorous. If you your lawn sees a lot of activity — kids, pets, parties — feed three to four times a year. A well-fed lawn is able to fend off diseases better than one that is undernourished.
Many diseases infect lawns when the grass blades are wet. Water only if needed and water deeply. This practice lets you go longer between waterings to keep grass blades dry. Watering in the morning is great since the grass blades dry quickly during the day. Avoid watering at night, as the grass blades will stay wet all night long, encouraging leaf diseases.
Mowing too short weakens the grass plant, making it more susceptible to infection. Most grass types should be mowed using a high mowing setting — at a 3- to 4-inch height. Mow Bermuda grass and Zoysia grass in the south using a lower mower setting — at a height of 1-1/2 to 2 inches. Mow often enough so that you remove no more than 1/3 the height of the grass blade at one time.
Apply a fungicide made for lawns to control or prevent lawn diseases, such as brown patch and dollar spot.