Common Lawn Diseases

Here you can read about diseases that are most commonly found in our lawns.


In most cases, disease can be reduced / prevented with the implementation of a proper lawn maintenance schedule and regular over-seeding practices.


The Lawn Disease Process:

For a turfgrass disease to exist, three primary components must exist at the same time. These are the Pathogen, the correct Environment, and the Host. If any of the three are missing the disease cannot thrive.
1) The Pathogen – The organism that infects the host and causes damage

2) The Environment – Environmental conditions, like temperature and moisture that favor pathogen development or reduce lawn health.

3) The Host – A grass variety or species that is susceptible to the pathogen

How to spot Lawn Diseases in Your Lawn
Leaf spots, brown areas or patches of dead grass may look like damage caused by disease, but they do not automatically indicate there is a disease present. Mowing with a dull blade, scalping, lawn damaging insect activity or poor irrigation can also cause symptoms in your lawn that might be confused with a turfgrass disease.



Rust affects many different species of turfgrasses throughout 

 Our area and damage is most common during the summer and fall months.

Identifying Rust -

Rust is a relatively easy lawn disease to identify in your lawn. It initially causes light yellow flecks on the grass blades and sheaths. The flecks enlarge and elongate over time, turning yellow in color. These areas then rupture, releasing spores that are yellowish-orange to reddish-brown in color (hence the name “Rust”).

A severe disease infection can cause the entire turfgrass shoot to turn yellowish to reddish-brown in color and slow growth in your lawn.

Turf may appear to be thin as individual shoots begin to die. Towards the end of the Rust disease infection cycle, leaves may become shredded and point downward if the infection is severe enough. Also, plants infected by rust are more susceptible to infection from other turfgrass diseases.

Rust Control

Cultural disease control practices create favorable conditions for a healthy lawn, and often create unfavorable conditions for the growth of Rust. Environmental conditions cannot be changed, but cultural practices performed by the homeowner can be modified to lessen the chance of extensive damage from Rust. Turf Care can help determine a plan for preventing and controlling Rust in your lawn.

For Rust control and treatment, Turf Care recommends the following cultural control tips:

•Use fertilizers with adequate levels of nitrogen
•Reduce thatch by de-thatching
•Reduce shade and improve air circulation
•Avoid watering at night
•Water deeply and infrequently to increase growth


Leaf Spot








Leaf Spot – or “melting out” in severe cases – is a common turfgrass disease in Canada, affecting a wide range of different grass plants. In northern climates, Leaf Spot damage occurs first in the spring and again in late summer to early fall.

Identifying Leaf Spot -

Leaf Spot can be identified by purplish-brown to black colored spots with tan centers on the leaf blades and sheaths of your turfgrass. As these dark spots or lesions expand, the center becomes lighter in color with a dark brown to black border. The lesions may also be surrounded by a yellow halo and the lower leaves can eventually become shriveled and wilted.

Severe Leaf Spot infections can cause thinning of a turf stand, or “melting out.” On cool season grasses, melting out typically follows the appearance of leaf spot.


For Leaf Spot control and treatment, Turf Care recommends the following cultural control tips:

•Increase the mowing height
•Avoid excessive application of fertilizers with water-soluble nitrogen in the spring.
•Minimize the amount of shade and increase air flow
•Irrigate as infrequently as possible - when irrigation is performed, irrigate turf deeply

Brown Patch









Brown Patch – sometimes referred to as Rhizoctonia Blight – is a hot weather turfgrass disease.

Brown Patch affects most turfgrasses throughout our region, with damage signs appearing during late summer.

Identifying Brown Patch -

Brown Patch typically produces rings or patches of browned out turfgrass that can measure from 5 inches to 10 feet in diameter. It may also produce thin, brown to purple borders around the margins of the patches. These areas are commonly referred to as “smoke rings.”

After the grass leaves die, new leaves can emerge from the surviving crowns. On wide bladed species of turfgrass, leaf lesions develop with tan centers and dark brown to black margins.

Symptoms of Brown Patch can vary depending on the species, weather conditions and intensity of turfgrass management.


For Brown Patch control and treatment, Turf Care recommends the following cultural control tips:

•Use low to moderate levels of nitrogen-based fertilizers with a balanced fertility program
•Avoid high nitrogen applications when the disease is active
•Reduce the amount of shade and increase the amount of air flow to dry turf more quickly
•Irrigate turf early in the day and improve soil drainage
•Reduce thatch

If you suspect you have any of the above diseases in your lawn,


click here to request a quote or call us 519-791-9602