Cold, Wet Spring’s Impact on Your Lawn

Brown Patch

As if 2020 hasn’t been unique and challenging enough, the weather has been quite unpredictable as well.  Here in Northern Virginia, we barely had a winter season.  Now, we have frost warnings in May along with seemingly endless days of rain with close to 9” from early April through early May. 

So what does a cold, wet spring mean for your lawn?  Fungus.  It’s inevitable.  Common varieties of fungus in our area such as Brown Patch and Red Thread have distinctive patterns that are easily recognizable.

However, while on a client’s lawn recently, one of our techs took the picture below.  This yellow-brown grass was sporadic and throughout the client’s entire lawn.  There was no pattern, no circles – just brown blades of grass mixed in consistently and everywhere.  Notice the lesion on the grass blade.

Net blotch fungus
Net blotch fungus

We knew something was amiss, but weren’t sure exactly what the issue was.  So, as we regularly recommend here on our blog, we reached out to our local Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Agent, Mark Sutphin, for help.

He in turn reached out to Dr. McCall at VTECH, who shared this: “Net blotch of tall fescue – a fungus that creates cigar shaped spores on the leaves. This is the most common leaf spot of tall fescue although several other pathogens could be causing the symptoms. This pops up every year in the spring when we have prolonged cool, wet weather (which we have had plenty of in 2020). In most cases, the damage is mostly cosmetic and doesn’t have major long-term negative effects. However, if conditions are favorable for long enough, there may be some stand reduction. I’ve seen some at my house this spring and have had images sent to me from all corners of VA with similar symptoms.”

Thanks Mark and Dr. McCall.  As always, we so appreciate the VCE.  You can visit their Lawn and Garden page here: http://swurl.it/H1E6K  It’s good to know this Net Blotch fungus is typically cosmetic…and we will keep an eye on its impact on this particular client’s lawn, as well as other lawns where we’ve seen the same fungus. 

Evidence of Red Thread
Evidence of Red Thread

Additionally, we know the wet spring we’ve had has the potential to be a breeding ground for other, not so innocuous fungi which won’t show themselves until the weather finally warms up.  To be proactive, check out our previous blog on Red Thread http://swurl.it/D5A8N , a fungus that typically shows up in May and June in our area, and our page of Lawn Fungus Control http://swurl.it/Q2X7Q for an overview of fungus “to watch for” signs this spring and summer.

Call the Pros at ProLawn at 540-662-8316 with any questions or concerns and right away at the first sign of a possible fungi infection!