The strange weather of the past two months has left lawns over the entire Denver Metro Area with some rather unusual problems many home owners have not seen before.
Many lawns are growing extremely fast because of the wet conditions. This also means some grasses are really standing out, such as tall Fescue which is wider bladed and clumpier then many lawn grasses; this is not crabgrass. Crabgrass is just starting to emerge and is first seen as small triangular neon green shoots on the edges of the lawn where it is the warmest.
While the moisture is welcome, the warmth and dryness of February left many areas with mite damage on south and west sides and where the sun could reflect down onto the yard. Dead areas that have not recovered are almost certainly caused from winter mites.
Yards struggled all winter long and the temperatures are lower than average so this has left yards with a few disease issues that do not normally crop up in the Denver Metro area. In addition, lawn insects are thriving in the very moist soil conditions including grubs, cut worms and Japanese beetles. We have seen signs of very high populations this spring.
There are several types of grass that have not completely come out of dormancy this year, including bent grass and buffalo grass. These grasses are normally greening up at this point in the year, but because the weather has remained so cool, they have not and remain brownish. This will change rapidly as the temperatures warm up and stabilize a bit.
Lawn diseases, such as Ascochyta, are just ramping up and after this high humidity and rain. As warmer temperatures come in the next couple of weeks it is important to remember we do live in an area that has normally very dry soil conditions. Soils dry out quickly as humidity levels drop, so watering is going to be very important. Many homeowners have turned off their sprinkler systems at this point, but a lawn’s need for water can quickly become an issue. Tracks in the lawn are caused by the fungus Ascochyta and need more water, regular mowing, picking up the clippings and washing the underside of the mower.
Necrotic Ring Spot: NRS is fully active and lawn areas with poor drainage are developing rings, meaning that there is already fresh damage to some lawns. Yards with NRS need to be watered deeply then allowed to dry out in order to help keep the disease out of the crowns of the plants.
Remember as the heat of late spring hits, keeping a lawn healthy requires good mowing
and watering practices. Mowing should be done to a height of 2.5 to 3 inches and no more than a third of the grass blade removed at any one cutting. Watering deeply and less often is much heathier for lawns than watering for shorter frequent times.
As always the lawn care professionals at Mountain High are here to help keep your lawn happy and healthy. Don’t hesitate to call!