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Common Spring Lawn Diseases In Florida: Commercial Properties Beware

by Emily Durgan | Mon, Feb 02, 2015

Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between common spring lawn diseases, pest damage and plant death due to improper cutting, watering or nutrients.

If you’re noticing that your commercial lawn is dying, has rings, brown patches or looks unhealthy in other ways, contact a lawn care professional like the experts at GreenEarth. Unless you know exactly what is causing the problem, proper treatment is impossible — and the wrong treatment can make some of these problems even worse.

Here’s a look at how to identify some of the most common spring lawn diseases in Florida — and how to prevent and treat them on your commercial property.

Large Patch

Brown patch is one of the common spring lawn diseases in FloridaThis fungal disease is often found from November to May, when temperatures are lower than 80 degrees. Grass affected by it initially turns yellow then dies off, with circular patches several feet in diameter. Sometimes you’ll see a circle of healthy grass in the middle!

Large Patch often affects St. Augustinegrass and zoysiagrass, two grasses commonly used in commercial landscapes on the Florida panhandle.

Pythium Root Rot

While this disease can occur year-round, pythium root rot is common when the soil is wet, so you might find it when there’s been a wet winter or spring.

Look for yellow, light green or brown areas, with thinning grass.


Rust is another common spring lawn disease.Rust is another fungal disease common to St. Augustinegrass and zoysiagrass, as well as perennial ryegrass used in winter as overseeding. Rust can make an appearance from fall through early spring, when grass is more dormant due to the cooler temperatures.

Look for small yellow spots initially, which change to orange spots with visible spores on them. Those spores rub off when touched.

How To Treat Lawn Disease

The University of Florida IFAS Extension recommends that only professionals should treat lawn diseases like these fungal issues, for a couple of reasons. The fungicidal treatments are specific to certain plant diseases, which can be hard to diagnose (it’s not always possible to diagnose lawn disease just by eyeballing the symptoms).

Treatment timing, including reapplication, is important, so the problem is zapped at the right time. Finally, the fungicidal products often need diluting and special equipment to apply.

How To Prevent Lawn Disease

To make sure your commercial lawn is in the best shape to prevent lawn diseases, landscaping experts like those of us at GreenEarth take a variety of factors into consideration. These include environmental stressors, like temperature, moisture, light, air pollutants, wind and soil type. It means providing the right amount of nutrients and watering, and cutting the grass blades to the proper level, so as not to invite in fungus or pests. And it means proper fertilization and pest control at the right times of the year.

If you have questions about possible lawn diseases on your property, or you want to talk about keeping your commercial landscaping as healthy as possible, give us a call. You can reach us at our Panama City Beach office at (850) 236-1959, or call our Santa Rosa Beach office at (850) 267-0010 to set up an appointment. You can also fill out our simple online form to schedule a consultation.

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Image credits: brown patch, rust

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