Summer is a time for enjoying your lawn—whether it’s barbecues, playing sports, or simply relaxing under the sun. However, the hot and humid conditions that come with summer also bring about a host of lawn diseases that can turn your green paradise into a patchy, unsightly mess. Combating these summer lawn diseases is crucial if you want to maintain a lush and healthy yard.

Understanding the common diseases that strike lawns during the summer months and knowing how to prevent and treat them can save you time, money, and frustration. Diseases like brown patch, dollar spot, and summer patch are prevalent during this season, and they thrive in the same conditions that make summer so enjoyable for us. Moisture, heat, and the high activity level that comes with summer can create a perfect storm for these diseases to flourish.

This comprehensive guide’ll delve into the most common summer lawn diseases, their causes, symptoms, and more to ensure you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and tools you need to keep your lawn looking its best.

Common Summer Lawn Diseases

Summer brings several common lawn diseases that can wreak havoc on your yard. Understanding these diseases is the first step toward effective management and prevention. Here are some of the most prevalent ones.

Brown Patch

Brown patch is a fungal disease that appears as large, circular brown spots on your lawn. It usually affects cool-season grasses, and hot, humid conditions make it worse. To identify brown patch, look for irregular patches of brown grass with a dark border. These patches often merge, creating bigger areas of damage.

Dollar Spot

Dollar spot creates small, silver-dollar-sized patches of brown or straw-colored grass. This disease thrives in moist, humid conditions and often strikes when nighttime temperatures stay warm. You will notice small lesions on the grass blades, which eventually kill patches of lawn.

Summer Patch

Summer patch mainly affects Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescues. It appears as circular patches of dead grass with healthy green centers, resembling a ‘frog-eye’ pattern. This disease is more common in stressed lawns with poor drainage or compacted soil.

Causes of Summer Lawn Diseases

Several factors contribute to the onset of summer lawn diseases, making it essential to understand their root causes for effective prevention.

High Humidity and Heat

Warm temperatures and high humidity create the perfect environment for fungal diseases. Fungi thrive in moist conditions, especially during warm nights when the grass retains moisture.

Poor Lawn Care Practices

Overwatering, improper mowing, and wrong fertilization practices can make your lawn vulnerable to diseases. Overwatering keeps the soil too moist, while improper mowing weakens your grass. Too much or too little fertilizer disrupts the nutrient balance, stressing your lawn.

Compacted Soil and Poor Drainage

Compacted soil restricts root growth and water penetration, making it easier for diseases to take hold. Poor drainage leaves water standing on the surface, fostering a moist environment where fungi can grow.

Effective Prevention Strategies

Preventing lawn diseases is easier than treating them. Here are some effective strategies to keep your lawn healthy during the summer.

Proper Watering Techniques

Water your lawn early in the morning, allowing the grass to dry out during the day. Deep, infrequent watering encourages strong root growth and reduces the amount of moisture fungi need to thrive.

Mowing Practices

Mow your grass at the appropriate height for its type. Cutting too short stresses the lawn and makes it susceptible to diseases. Keep your mower blades sharp to avoid tearing the grass, which provides entry points for pathogens.

Adequate Fertilization

Use a balanced fertilizer suitable for your grass type. Too much nitrogen can encourage lush growth, which is more prone to disease. A soil test can help determine the exact nutrients your lawn needs.

Improving Soil Drainage

Aerate your lawn to relieve soil compaction and improve water penetration. Ensuring good drainage prevents water from standing on the grass, reducing the chances of fungal growth.

Identifying Symptoms Early

Early identification of lawn diseases allows for prompt treatment, preventing extensive damage.

Regular Inspections

Inspect your lawn regularly for early signs of disease. Look for discolored patches, irregular growth, or spots on the grass blades. Spotting these symptoms early can help you address the issue before it spreads.

Understanding Visible Changes

Learn to recognize the visible symptoms associated with each disease. For example, brown patch often has a dark, water-soaked perimeter, while dollar spot may show small, bleached spots on individual grass blades. Knowing these signs helps in timely and accurate diagnosis.

Accessing Expert Advice

Sometimes, identifying the specific lawn disease can be challenging. If you’re unsure, seek advice from lawn care professionals who can help diagnose the problem accurately and recommend appropriate treatments.

Treating Summer Lawn Diseases

Once you identify a lawn disease, taking swift action can mitigate damage and help restore your yard to health.

Applying Fungicides

Fungicides can be effective in treating fungal diseases. It’s crucial to apply them at the right time and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fungicides work best when applied during the early stages of disease development.

Adjusting Lawn Care Practices

Review and adjust your lawn care practices if needed. Ensure you’re watering, mowing, and fertilizing correctly. Improving these practices can help your lawn recover faster and prevent future outbreaks.

Removing Affected Grass

In severe cases, removing the affected grass and reseeding the area can help. This action prevents the spread of the disease to healthy parts of your lawn and allows for fresh, healthy growth in the treated area. Select disease-resistant grass varieties for reseeding to improve resilience.

Long-Term Maintenance for a Healthy Lawn

Maintaining a lawn that resists diseases year after year requires consistent effort and the right strategies. Following long-term maintenance practices can keep your lawn lush and healthy.

Consistent Lawn Care Routine

Establish a consistent lawn care routine that includes regular mowing, watering, and fertilizing. Stick to the recommended practices for your grass type and local climate.

Seasonal Treatments

Consider seasonal treatments such as pre-emergent herbicides in the spring and fall fertilizers. These treatments prepare your lawn to resist diseases and pests throughout the year.

Focus on Soil Health

Healthy soil supports strong grass growth. Regularly test your soil and amend it as necessary to maintain a balanced nutrient profile. Incorporate organic matter, like compost to improve soil structure and fertility.

Using Disease-Resistant Grass Varieties

Choosing disease-resistant grass varieties can make a significant difference in maintaining a healthy lawn during the summer months. These varieties possess natural resistance to common lawn diseases, reducing the need for chemical treatments.

Selecting the Right Grass Type

Select grass varieties that best suit your local climate and soil conditions. Research and consult with local experts to choose types known for their disease resistance. Common disease-resistant varieties include tall fescue, zoysia, and fine fescue.

Proper Installation Techniques

When installing new grass, follow proper techniques to ensure healthy growth. This includes preparing the soil adequately, providing sufficient water, and protecting young grass from stress and damage.

Balanced Lawn Ecosystem

Creating a balanced lawn ecosystem helps prevent diseases from taking hold. Encouraging biodiversity and maintaining a healthy lawn environment are key components of this approach.

Introduce Beneficial Organisms

Introduce beneficial organisms, such as earthworms and beneficial fungi, to your lawn. These organisms help improve soil health and reduce disease-causing pathogens.

Promote Biodiversity

Promote biodiversity by incorporating a mix of grass species and other plants. This diversity can enhance your lawn’s resilience to diseases and pests.

Organic Lawn Care Methods

Organic lawn care methods can be effective in managing and preventing summer lawn diseases. These methods focus on natural practices that maintain a healthy lawn without synthetic chemicals.

Use of Organic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers, such as compost and manure, provide essential nutrients to your lawn. They improve soil health and structure, making your lawn more resistant to diseases.

Beneficial Nematodes

Beneficial nematodes are microscopic worms that naturally control lawn pests. Applying nematodes in your lawn helps reduce the population of harmful insects that can cause stress and disease to your grass.

Proper Irrigation Systems

Setting up an efficient irrigation system helps maintain optimal moisture levels in your lawn. Proper watering reduces the risk of fungal diseases and promotes healthy grass growth.

Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation systems deliver water directly to the roots of the grass. This method reduces water waste and minimizes the chance of creating a moist environment conducive to fungal growth.

Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems are common and can be effective if used correctly. Set your sprinkler system to water early in the morning, allowing the grass to dry out during the day.

Benefits of Overseeding

Overseeding involves spreading new grass seeds over an existing lawn. This practice helps fill in bare spots and enhances the density of your lawn, making it more resistant to diseases.

Choosing the Right Time

The best time for overseeding is late summer to early fall. During this period, the soil is still warm, promoting seed germination, and the cooler temperatures reduce the stress on new grass.

Using Disease-Resistant Seeds

Select disease-resistant grass seed varieties for overseeding. This improves your lawn’s ability to withstand common summer diseases and contributes to a healthier, more resilient yard.

Monitoring and Maintenance

Regular monitoring and maintenance are crucial in managing summer lawn diseases. Keeping an eye on the health of your lawn allows for timely interventions.

Routine Inspections

Conduct routine inspections of your lawn to detect early signs of diseases. Look for changes in color, texture, or growth patterns that may indicate the presence of a disease.

Timely Interventions

If you notice signs of disease, take immediate action. Early treatment can prevent the spread of the disease and reduce the extent of the damage.

Importance of Soil Testing

Soil testing provides valuable information about the nutrient levels and pH of your soil. Understanding these factors helps in creating a fertilization plan that meets the specific needs of your lawn.

Regular Soil Tests

Conduct soil tests regularly, ideally every two to three years. These tests help in identifying nutrient deficiencies and imbalances, which are critical in preventing lawn diseases.

Adjusting Soil pH

Adjust the soil pH based on the test results. Most grasses thrive in slightly acidic to neutral pH levels. Maintaining the right soil pH enhances nutrient uptake and strengthens your lawn.

Weed Control

Weeds compete with your grass for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Effective weed control is essential in maintaining a healthy lawn that can resist diseases.

Manual Removal

Manually removing weeds by pulling them out can be effective, especially in small areas. Ensure you pull out the weeds by their roots to prevent regrowth.

Organic Herbicides

Organic herbicides, such as corn gluten meal, can help control weeds without harming your lawn. These products prevent weed seeds from germinating, reducing the weed population in your yard.

Using Mulch

Mulching involves spreading a layer of organic material over the soil. This practice helps in retaining moisture, reducing soil temperature fluctuations, and suppressing weeds.

Types of Mulch

Common types of mulch include grass clippings, straw, and wood chips. Choose mulch that suits your lawn’s needs and apply it evenly across the soil surface.

Benefits of Mulching

Mulching not only helps in moisture retention and weed suppression but also adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes. This improves soil health and structure, promoting a disease-resistant lawn.

Natural Pest Control

Natural pest control methods help manage lawn pests without synthetic chemicals. Controlling pests reduces the stress on your grass, making it less susceptible to diseases.

Introducing Predators

Introduce natural predators, such as ladybugs and birds, to your lawn. These predators feed on harmful insects, reducing their population and minimizing damage to your grass.

Biological Control Agents

Biological control agents, like Bacillus thuringiensis, are naturally occurring bacteria that target specific pests. Applying these agents helps control pest populations and protect your lawn.

Eco-Friendly Practices

Adopting eco-friendly practices in your lawn care routine promotes a healthy, disease-resistant yard. These practices focus on sustainability and minimizing environmental impact.


Composting yard waste, such as grass clippings and leaves, creates nutrient-rich compost that can be applied to your lawn. This reduces waste and provides essential nutrients to your grass.

Rainwater Harvesting

Collecting rainwater for lawn irrigation reduces the use of municipal water and provides your lawn with naturally soft water. This practice is environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Benefits of Professional Lawn Care

While DIY methods can be effective, professional lawn care services offer expertise and advanced techniques in managing lawn diseases.

Expert Diagnosis

Professional lawn care providers can accurately diagnose lawn diseases and recommend appropriate treatments. Their expertise ensures timely and effective interventions.

Specialized Treatments

Professionals have access to specialized treatments and equipment that may not be available for home use. These treatments can be more effective in controlling and preventing lawn diseases.

Benefits of Aeration

Aeration involves perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. This practice relieves soil compaction and promotes healthy root growth.

Types of Aeration

There are two main types of aeration: core aeration and spike aeration. Core aeration removes small plugs of soil, while spike aeration uses solid tines to poke holes in the soil.

Timing and Frequency

The best time for aeration is during the growing season, when the grass can recover quickly. Aerate your lawn once or twice a year, depending on the soil conditions and grass type.

Enhancing Lawn Resilience

Enhancing the resilience of your lawn helps it withstand stress and recover from diseases. Implementing practices that strengthen your grass ensures a healthy and vibrant yard.

Deep Root Growth

Encourage deep root growth by watering deeply and infrequently. Deep roots improve your lawn’s ability to access water and nutrients, making it more resilient to stress.

Balanced Nutrition

Provide balanced nutrition by applying the right type and amount of fertilizer. A well-nourished lawn is better equipped to resist diseases and recover from damage.

Achieve a Healthy, Disease-Free Lawn

Maintaining a healthy, disease-free lawn during the summer requires a combination of proper care techniques and vigilant monitoring. Healthy lawns resist pests and diseases and provide a beautiful outdoor space for your family. You can significantly reduce the risk of common lawn diseases by implementing organic lawn care practices, ensuring proper irrigation, conducting regular soil tests, and following recommended mowing and fertilization schedules.

If managing these tasks seems overwhelming, seek professional assistance. Experts can provide tailored advice and advanced treatments that ensure your lawn remains lush and healthy all year round.
For comprehensive lawn care services and expert guidance, contact NexGreen. Our team of professionals is dedicated to keeping your yard in top condition. Visit our website or give us a call to schedule a consultation today. Achieve the lawn of your dreams with NexGreen!