What Is Asocochyta Leaf Blight?
Asocochyta leaf blight, sometimes known as leaf spot, is a common fungal problem that affects several species of grass during the summer. This type of leaf blight affects Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue species of grass. Asocochyta leaf blight causes bleached, browned, and damaged patches of lawn.
Signs Of Leaf Blight
Asocochyta leaf blight is most common during the summer months when the weather varies between cool and rainy and extremely hot. Large patches of grass become bleached and appear straw-like when the Asocochyta fungus infects the leaves. Lesions appear on lower leaves in the early season and upper leaves at the end of the warm months.
Though Asocochyta leaf spot causes grass to resemble a drought-ridden yard, a key difference lies in the sudden onset of symptoms. Leaf blight appears seemingly overnight. In addition, drought affects an entire patch of turf while blight has some healthy grass within a bleached patch. Lastly, blight leaves yellow or brown colored fungal fruiting bodies in the diseased grass. These fruiting bodies can be viewed under a magnifying glass and are helpful in diagnosing blight.
What Causes It?
The exact environmental trigger that causes leaf blight is unknown. However, leaf blight is associated with cold conditions with significant rainfall followed by heat and humidity. The fungus is generally found when temperatures exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity and dense thatch promote sporulation. Additionally, affected areas of lawn are often found in direct sunlight. Nonetheless, excessive rain and watering may cause the disease’s spread.
This happens because fungus spores spread through rain splash and irrigation. In addition, dull mower blades may contribute by creating jagged cuts, allowing more sites for the fungus spores to enter. These fungal spores survive in the dead grass or remaining clippings in the thatch. Consequently, airborne spores spread in the fall and may cause infections the following spring.
What Can You Do?
Unfortunately, there is no quick treatment to cure Asocochyta leaf blight. However, there are a variety of steps that can minimize the spread of blight and prevent it from reappearing.
9 Superb Tips To Prevent Asocochyta Leaf Blight
- Dethatch your lawn. Because fungus spores survive in thatch, it is important to reduce their spread.
- Aerate your lawn each fall or spring. Aeration allows water to penetrate evenly and prevent areas from becoming over-saturated.
- Prevent standing water from collecting. Soggy lawns are ripe for the fungal spread. Be sure to avoid overwatering your lawn and watch for areas that collect more rainwater.
- Change your mower blades. Sharper blades create cleaner cuts, which mean fewer sites for fungal spores to spread.
- Reduce mowing frequency. This allows your grass more time to heal and become stronger against diseases and fungus.
- Apply fungicide. There are several types of fungicides that are effective against a similar disease, Septoria leaf blotch, and may be effective against leaf blight.
- Remove infected grass. After mowing your lawn be sure to bag your lawn clippings, which contain the fungus. This prevents the blight from spreading.
- Never mow a wet lawn that has leaf blight. The combination provides a breeding ground for more blight patches. Wait at least a full day after a heavy rain before mowing your lawn.
- Water infrequently. If you water your lawn, be sure to water deeply and infrequently to grow a stronger root system. The tougher the roots are, the less likely your lawn will be afflicted by disease and fungus.
Leaf blight on lawns is difficult to predict. It occurs suddenly and strikes fiercely. The steps above can help reduce the spread of leaf blight and potentially prevent it. The healthier your lawn, the more likely it will resist all types of fungi and diseases. Follow a regular lawn maintenance program to create your strongest, healthiest lawn year round.
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