Fusarium is a fairly common turf grass disease that is caused by the fungus Microdochium Nivale; whilst not uncommon on a domestic lawn usually found on most golf courses or fine lawns at some point every year.
To the untrained eye, fusarium could be mistaken for a pet urine scorch or even a spillage of some sort.
You will notice small patches of discoloured grass initially, when you look closer you usually find a small dead patch in the centre with a yellow/brown outer ring, sometimes this outer ring can have a fluffy white cotton-wool type substance on it usually in the morning whilst it’s still damp, this is called mycelium and is a good indicator that the disease is active.
Fusarium can be quite quick to attack, the disease has a relatively short incubation period, one day your lawn looks healthy and the next day you could have fusarium on it. Generally when the conditions or situation is right, fusarium will attack.
The most common time of year for a fusarium outbreak would be autumn through to spring, particularly if it’s fairly mild and damp weather, the reduced amount of daylight hours doesn’t help either.
A severe outbreak of fusarium can mean an expensive application of fungicide to control it but there are a number of cultural control methods that you can implement to try and prevent fusarium attacking in the first place. Unfortunately areas affected by Fusarium are unlikely to recover and will require re-seeding.
- First and foremost, keep a healthy lawn. Carry out annual scarification to keep thatch down to a minimum.
- Ensure your lawn drains correctly and doesn’t hold water, regular hollow tining allows good movement of moisture away from the surface
- Regularly cut your lawn but don’t be tempted to cut your lawn too short, fusarium prefers short grass. Also important to point out that having a clean sharp blade is vital in preventing disease.
- Take the morning dew off with a brush or hosepipe
- Ensure your lawn receives optimum light and air movement, this may mean some pruning of shrubs and trees around the garden
- Follow a tailored nutrition program avoiding any high in nitrogen fertiliser in early spring and late autumn