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Who's Afraid of a Little Fungus?

July 15th, 2013

Here in Florida, the climate is perfect for growing a lush, tropical wonderland of botanical species. Unfortunately, many of the species that try to get a foothold in our landscapes are some that we would prefer to avoid. Some of these species exist in the kingdom of fungi, and unless you’re careful, they can take a beautiful yard and turn it into a wasteland.

What Is a Fungus?

Formerly thought to be part of the same group as plants, now fungi are actually classified in a separate category.

The main difference between a plant and a fungus is that a plant can make its own food through the process of photosynthesis, and a fungus relies on a host for nourishment. Sometimes the host may be your lawn, and that’s when the home owner may need to turn to a lawn care professional to avoid damage.

Does Your Yard Have a Fungus?

Although many fungi can be beneficial, there are thousands that can damage plants in your yard, including grass. You won’t be aware of the existence of a fungus until you start noticing the effect on your lawn: sunken areas, blemished blades of grass, patches of discoloration, rings of mushrooms, and so on. Sometimes preventive maintenance, mainly proper lawn care, will keep fungi from developing. Proper irrigation, fertilization, and mowing will almost always keep the grass healthy and fungus-resistant.

When It’s Too Late for Prevention

In spite of your best efforts, fungus may sometimes take hold and spread to the roots of your grass, causing them to rot. Your lawn will begin to look thin and dead in places, and no amount of watering will help. In those cases, it’s best to call on a lawn care professional to assess the problem and determine the proper approach to get rid of it. This is especially important when treating fungi because not all of them respond in the same way to a particular treatment.