A tidy and carefully-manicured lawn can be the striking focal point of any yard, something that contributes to the overall visual effect of your yard as well as being a space you can enjoy during the warm summer months when you want to spend as much time outside as possible.
However, a lawn doesn’t take care of itself, and just like people, lawns can sometimes get sick. One type of disease that affects lawns is fungal infections, and that’s what we’re going to discuss here. We’ll look at how to diagnose fungal infections, how to prevent them, how to treat them and also look at the question, should you water a lawn after applying fungicide?
Here’s a video that gives a good overview of fungal infections that attack lawns.
Table of Contents
To water or not?
We’ll start by dealing with the main issue of whether you should water your lawn after applying fungicides – then we’ll go on to give you some other important information about how to care for your lawn when it comes to fungal infections.
There are many types of fungicide, and they may be applied in many different forms – for example, as dust, as granules, as spray or others. However, the most important thing to understand is that there are two main types, contact fungicides and systemic fungicides.
Whether you should water after applying fungicide depends primarily on which type you are using, so let’s look at each in turn.
· Contact fungicide
Contact fungicides are fungicides that remain on the leaf of a plant (the grass leaves in the case of a lawn) and fight fungal infection by providing a protective covering over the leaf. This protective layer prevents the fungal infection from attacking the plant.
This kind of fungicide does not last long – perhaps from only a few days up to a week. This means they need to be reapplied more often.
However, if you water your grass after applying one of these, the fungicide will be washed off the leaves and will no longer provide any protection.
This means you should avoid watering your grass after applying a contact fungicide. If it rains, you will also need to reapply it because the rain will wash it off – and even if you walk on the grass too much, you will remove the fungicide and reduce its effectiveness.
These fungicides are more commonly used as preventative rather than curative measures.
· Systemic fungicide
Systemic fungicides work in a different way. They are absorbed into the grass and help fight the fungal infection from within. This type of fungicide lasts for longer and can be used either as a preventative measure or as a cure for an existing infection.
Since this type of fungicide is absorbed through the roots, you need to water it in to ensure its effectiveness. If it doesn’t reach the roots, it won’t be absorbed by the grass and will have no effect.
Identifying a fungal infection
The most important thing to do before taking the decision to apply a fungicide is to be sure that a fungal infection is really the problem – if you apply a fungicide and this is not the issue, it will have no effect.
Things to look for include discoloration and brown patches on the lawn. If you look closely at individual blades of grass, you may also find brown flecks or powdery patches.
Another indicator that a fungal infection has set in is slimy areas of grass – some infections can cause algae to develop.
Finally, mushrooms growing in your lawn are also a type of fungal infection. If you spot mushrooms growing where they shouldn’t, you should take action to deal with the problem.
Diagnosing the infection
If you are sure you have a fungal infection, the next step is to identify what kind you have. Not all fungal infections are the same, and you need to choose the right product to treat each type. If not, it is like a doctor giving you the wrong medicine for your illness.
Why do fungicide treatments fail?
Sometimes, you might start treating a fungal infection only to find it has little or no effect. This can be due to several reasons.
The most obvious reason is misdiagnosis. As we have already mentioned, if the infection is not fungal, a fungicide won’t help. Instead, it could be due to insects, chemical injury or many other causes.
It may also fail because you have chosen the wrong product. Although many fungicides kill a wide range of infections, if you choose the wrong product for your particular type, it may not be effective.
Finally, as mentioned, make sure you don’t wash off contact fungicides – and equally, make sure you water in systemic fungicides as required. Above all, follow the instructions on the packaging.
Avoiding fungal infections
With fungal infections, prevention is far better than treating them once they set in. Part of this is ensuring that your lawn is healthy and thriving – since a healthy lawn is far better equipped to fight off an infection by itself.
On the other hand, a weakened and unhealthy lawn is an obvious target for a fungus.
Here are a few things you can do to help keep your grass healthy and able to fight fungal infections naturally by itself.
· Feed your lawn
Make sure you feed your lawn properly – a lawn that is lacking essential nutrients will be less able to fight off diseases of all kinds, including fungal infections.
· Water your lawn properly
Water your lawn, too, but make sure you water it correctly. Watering less frequently but watering deeply will encourage it to set deep roots, making it hardier and able to deal fight infections more easily.
Also, make sure you water in the morning to allow any excess water to evaporate during the day. Fungal infections take hold far more easily in moist conditions, so ensure your lawn doesn’t provide the conditions required.
Another thing you can do is to install a sprinkler controller to guarantee your lawn receives the optimum amount of water and no more.
· Mow your lawn properly
Finally, don’t mow too short. If you cut grass too short, it weakens it, again making it a target for a fungal infection. Find out the optimal length for the species of grass in your lawn and never cut more than 1/3 of the length in one go.
Prevent if possible, treat when necessary
To keep your lawn looking great, do everything you can to keep it healthy and able to fight off infections of all kinds by itself. If it does become infected, identify the infection and treat accordingly carefully following the instructions on the packaging.
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