4 Cultural Tips to Help Homeowners Keep Their Lawns Disease-Free
If you’re a turf manager for an HOA or provide lawn care services to homeowners, you may have to deal with lawn diseases.
Some homeowners believe more fertilizer for their lawns will give them extra-green turf. However, over-applying fertilizer can lead to turf diseases.
Here are the typical lawn diseases you may deal with on residential lawns:
- Brown patch
- Fairy ring
- Powdery mildew
- Red thread
- Snow mold.
4 Cultural Tips to Keep Residential Lawns Disease-Free
All the above-listed turf diseases are fungal, so humid and warm temperatures also contribute to lawn diseases, except snow mold.
Snow mold is a fungal disease that appears in late winter and early spring after the snow has melted. When the turfgrass has been buried under a pile of snow for most of the winter, pink or grey mold appears on the lawn.
If you’re a turf manager in Georgia, you’re dealing with fungal diseases more often than a turf manager must contend with in Pennsylvania.
You can empower your residential clients to avoid turf diseases by educating them on the best lawn care practices between visits. These practices are usually called cultural management and fall under the homeowner’s responsibility:
- Mowing: Some clients may still believe that cutting low to the ground or even scalping makes for a uniform lawn. However, turfgrass stays healthier when it’s allowed to grow longer.
Encourage your customers to mow higher by setting their mower to cut off only the top third each time they mow. Also, remind them to reduce mowing frequency during the dog days of summer if they have cool season grasses.
Finally, teach homeowners that it’s essential that their mowers have sharp blades. Dull mower blades lead to rips, tears, and injuries, which opens turfgrass to disease.
What about lawn clippings? Generally, it’s better to leave grass clippings on the ground. However, if your customer has a fungal disease, it’s better to bag them and throw them away.
The customer shouldn’t put their diseased grass clippings in a compost bin or anywhere else that will continue the spread of the disease.
- Fertilization: Caution your clients to either let all lawn fertilization up to you or that they follow the bag’s product directions to a tee. Also, remind homeowners with cool season grasses not to add fertilizer during the hottest summer days when the turf goes dormant.
- Irrigation: Homeowners tend to waste water when irrigating their properties. They either go overboard or don’t water enough. As you know, properties only need between 1” – 2” of water per week, which includes any rainfall.
You may have some residential clients who want to sprinkle their lawns daily for about 10 minutes using an above-ground sprinkler they found at their local box store.
Instead, homeowners should invest in in-ground lawn sprinklers or buy soaker hoses to lay on the lawn. When there’s no rain in the upcoming forecast, your customers should water their lawns deeply and limit their watering to one day a week.
If your clients are using soaker hoses, they should set a soaker hose timer for how long the hoses should run.
If a residential client has an in-ground sprinkler system, they can set the timer through an app on their mobile device or in the controller, so the sprinkler system turns off after there’s enough moisture in the soil.
- Turf management services: While homeowners can rent a dethatcher and an aerator, try to persuade them that you have the necessary equipment and knowledge to core aerate and dethatch their lawns professionally.
Most homeowners with cool season lawns will need their yards aerated every two years. After you’re finished aerating, you’ll also overseed the property and add topdressing to feed the soil.
If your customers have turf with too much thatch, you can offer dethatching services in-between the aeration years.
There are many ways to communicate these cultural management tips, and you should repeat them more than once, so that your customers will absorb and act on the above information.
For example, you can add these tips in an e-blast, on your blog, in a video on your homepage, and on a tip sheet that you leave with all of your lawn care customers. You can also add reminders to invoices and on your Facebook page.
But you’ll need to repeat them because people need to see and hear the information a few times before they start following it.
LebanonTurf’s Two Fungicides to Cure Lawn Diseases
LebanonTurf carries two effective fungicides to fight turf diseases:
- Lebanon PPZ .72 Granular Fungicide: This fungicide is a granular disease control product with SGN 100 sized particles that can be used on most turf surfaces.
The dispersible granule carrier is consistent in size and easy to spread. It utilizes propiconazole 0.72%, a Group 3 Fungicide belonging to the DMI class.
Follow the product’s label for specific information on pests controlled, application rates, timing, and use.
- Lebanon Eagle .62G Fungicide: This fungicide is a granular disease control product, and it’s for general turf use. This fungicide uses Eagle-branded myclobutanil at .62%. It’s a Group 3 Fungicide belonging to the DMI class.
Follow the label for specific information on pests controlled, application rates, timing, and use. Eagle is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC.
You can buy both of these fungicides through your LebanonTurf distributor.
GreenIndustryPros.com, How Cultural Practices Affect Turf Health.