Spring Dead Spot (Ophioshaerella korrae)
Identification of Spring Dead Spot
Spring Dead Spot can be identified as yellow or brown patches in the lawn ranging in size between 10 cm to over a metre in diameter. As the name suggests, Spring Dead Spot is most noticeable in Spring as the lawn colour darkens. However, it actually begins in Autumn and continues over the Winter when it may be less noticeable due to lawns being lighter in colour during these times. As Summer arrives, Spring Dead Spot will become far less active, and the lawns in turn become more active, this leads to the lawn growth outpacing the damage occurring from SDS. So Spring Dead Spot becomes far less noticeable or possibly invisible during the Summer.
Spring Dead Spot is a lawn fungus disease caused by a pathogen agent. Even though the leaf of the lawn is seen to be dying, the fungus actually attacks and destroys the roots and rhizomes (underground runners) of the lawn. A soil sample proves this by showing the disintegration of the roots and runners.
Spring Dead Spot
Cultural Management Of Spring Dead Spot
Environmental conditions must be right for the Spring Dead Spot pathogen to take hold and the disease to flourish. The same conditions that causes a disease to flourish, usually causes a weakness in the turf, making the disease strong and the turf too weak to fight it. With proper cultural management of our lawns we want to create an unfriendly environment for the disease so it won't take hold, and if it does, to reverse the situation.
Water lawns only in the morning. We don't want a lot of moisture sitting in the thatch layer overnight during warmer weather.
Mow regularly and control excessive growth habits to reduce the build-up of thatch, and vertimow when necessary to remove any thatch build-up. Or otherwise cut back the thatch layer with a lower cut lawn mowing in the Spring.
Check pH and lower if necessary. Fertilise all year round with a quality, balanced fertiliser in small amounts applied regularly.
Cut back surrounding bushes or trees to allow a lot more direct sunlight to the area.
Monitor compaction, and rectify human patterns causing quick compaction. Core or aerate the lawn if required.
Eradication Of Spring Dead Spot
Treatment for this fungal disease can be very difficult. Often the results from fungicides can be hit and miss. This requires an ongoing management regimen to prevent the Spring Dead Spot disease taking hold, and to remove the disease from the property if it does take hold.
Eradication must be a combination of lawn care and the Cultural Management Controls outlined above, as well as the application of a suitable fungicide by a Licensed Lawn Spraying Professional.