The Most Common Lawn Diseases – And How To Stop Them

Trying to identify the most common lawn diseases can be a challenge. This guide was created to give the knowledge on how to identify lawn diseases. After reading this article you will be able to identify: Does my lawn have a disease, which lawn disease, which course of action should be followed, and most importantly, how to prevent lawn diseases from coming back. Just like a three legged bar stool cannot stand if it is missing one of it’s legs, a disease cannot develop in a lawn if it is missing any of the three elements.

  • The Right Environment
  • A Pathogen
  • Susceptible Turf Grass
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The Right Environment

The right environment for disease to grow in turf grass can be stopped with proper cultural practices. These include lawn aeration, proper mowing heights, proper fertilization levels, and adequate watering.

The right environment for diseases can be caused by heavy rainfalls, which we have experienced the last few years in Pennsylvania. On the other end, inadequate rain or proper irrigation can also be a breeding ground for diseases. Excessive thatch and grass clumps can also lead to lawn diseases. Bagging lawn clippings is one option, but this also robs the lawn of healthy natural fertilizer that grass clippings offer. Instead, adhere to proper mowing techniques such as never removing more than 1/3 of the grass blade when mowing. Following a weekly lawn mowing schedule is also very important to maintaining healthy turf grass. In addition, aerating the lawn twice a year, once in the Spring, and again in the Fall, will remove excess thatch buildup.


All lawns are susceptible to pathogens. Planting disease resistant turf grass is one of the most cost effective ways to prevent pathogen buildup. We use high quality turf grass designed by Pennsylvania State University that is specific to South Eastern Pennsylvania lawns. Pathogens are almost always in turf grass, but remain dormant until environmental conditions arise that activate the pathogens.

Susceptible Turf Grass

Turf grass becomes susceptible to pathogen activation when the proper environment gives way to susceptible turf grass. Turf grass becomes susceptible when heavy traffic, heavy rains or drought, improper fertilization, heavy thatch buildup and improper mowing conditions arise. To prevent this, be sure to have mower blades sharp, and to cut turf grass higher in the Spring and Summer. Only during the Fall and Winter should turf grass be cut below 3″ in Pennsylvania.

Disease Identification

Identifying the disease is the first step before treating it. Make sure that insects and pests are not the culprit before applying a fungicide. Check out our ultimate guide to the most common lawn pests in Pennsylvania in order to determine if pests or disease are causing the issues in your lawn. Lawn pests are much more common than disease on residential lawns.

Symptoms And Signs Of The Problem

Symptoms can appear as small, circular, tan lesions surrounded by purple or brown borders. This is known as leaf spotting. Tan, yellow, or red blotches covering most of the blade are known as blighting.

The species of turf grass that is being affected is also important to consider. Some species of turf grass are more resistant to pathogen outbreaks, while others are more susceptible.

The weather and site conditions play a major roll in an outbreak. High humidity, lots of sunlight, drainage conditions, soil conditions, and the amount of rain all play a factor. Poor mowing practices and improper fertilization can play a role in disease outbreak, as well as disease identification.

Common Lawn Diseases

Dollar Spot – 60-75 degrees F.

Dollar spot on a lawn
  • Most severe in high temperatures with inadequate rainfall. Inadequate fertilization will also contribute to dollar spot issues. White “cobwebs” which are the white mycelium of the fungi may be seen in the early morning when the lawn has dew still. Kentucky Bluegrass and Fine Fescue are the most susceptible. Proper cultural lawn practices will avoid dollar spot break outs.

Leaf Spot – Weather between 45-60 degrees F.

leaf spot on a lawn
  • Occurs when the lawn is being scalped (cut too low) during vital Spring and early Summer months. Over-fertilized lawns will make this problem more severe. A dark purplish-red oval border around the disease will appear as it worsens. All cool season turf grasses are susceptible. Avoid lawn scalping, over fertilizing, and frequent light watering.

Snow Mold – 32-45 degrees F.

snow mold on lawn image
  • Occurs in the Fall and Winter. Grass that is left too high during these months will produce snow mold. Perennial Ryegrass and Tall Fescue are the most susceptible. Proper mowing in the Spring and adequate fertilizer will revive turf from snow mold. While the blades of the turf may look dead, the crown and root are not. This is one of the most common lawn diseases, and tends to resolve itself naturally with no fungicides. Make sure to cleanup all leaves in the fall and early winter to avoid this! contact us today for a leaf removal service.

Yellow Patch – 32-45 degrees F.

  • Excessive thatch creates the perfect environment for patch. Patch diseases are almost always caused by excessive thatch. Occurs during the Fall, Winter and early Spring when low temperatures are around 40 degrees. Kentucky Bluegrass and Fine Fescue are most affected. While this is not one of the most common lawn disease for residential lawns, it is commonly found on golf course greens. Light fertilizer in the spring should restore the turf.

Red Thread – Weather between 45-60 degrees F.

Red thread, as the name indicates, can be identified by pinkish-red threads sticking out of the leaf blade. The leaves will at first become red, and then fade out to a bleached straw color. Affects all cool season grasses, especially perennial ryegrass and fine fescue. To prevent red thread, cut turf at proper mowing heights and practice weekly lawn maintenance. Prolonged periods of dampness will help trigger red thread.

Pythium Blight – Hot Temperatures, above 75 degrees F.

pythium blight on a lawn image
  • Excess watering and poor drainage contribute pythium blight. High humidity where water tends to pool up, or not drain properly can affect All Cool Season Turfgrasses. Improve the air quality and drainage to rid lawns of blight. Sometimes called “grease spot” because of the greasy leaves and look that is characteristic of pythium blight.

Fairy Rings – Hot Temperatures, above 75 degrees F.

  • First appear as a cluster of mushrooms or toadstools. These will appear on the outer edge of what forms a ring. The rings can form as either dark green and fast-growing turf, or as slow growing killed turf. High soil moisture and hot temperatures contribute to fairy rings. All cool season grasses can be affected. These symptoms can be masked by core aeration, and moderate fertilization. Fungicides may need to be used as a preventative measure next season if this is a reoccurring problem.

Preventing The Most Common Lawn Diseases

Similar to the treatment of broadleaf weeds and lawn pests, lawn diseases work best with prevention methods. The best “defense” is a strong offense! Go on the offensive this year. Aerate in the spring and fall, cleanup any leaves in the fall and winter, fertilize with pre-emergent early (I recommend March for first treatment). Keep your mower deck in the correct range for the season (3-4″ in the spring and summer, 2.75-3.5″ in the fall and winter). Keep those blades SHARP! We change our blades regularly because slow blades not only slow your mowing down, they can cause a host of issues.

To prevent lawn diseases:

  • Core Aerate
    • Removes thatch, opens up air flow, creates stronger roots.
  • Follow Healthy Lawn Mowing Practices
    • Sharp blades, proper mowing heights for the season, not scalping the lawn.
  • Proper Lawn Fertilization Levels
    • Over fertilizing can actually burn the lawn, stressing it even further. This is why dog urine “burns” the lawn. Urine is high in nitrogen content and creates yellow spots on a healthy lawn. Follow the directions on the label for proper fertilizing, and make sure to have your spreader/sprayer calibrated correctly.

Lawn Mowing Service

Professional Lawn Maintenance Providers.

Your home is your most valuable asset! At Bolton Lawn Care, we take pride in maintaining your home’s lawn. We will work directly with you to ensure your satisfaction, and ensure that your lawn and landscape is maintained at our high quality standards.

Our lawn mowing service follows the following procedure:

  • Weekly Turf Mowing With Commercial Grade Mowers.
    • Our mower blades are always sharp to ensure a high quality cut and to prevent lawns from getting diseases caused by dull blades.
  • String Trimming Areas Where Mowers Cannot Reach.
  • Bi-Weekly String Trim Edging Of Driveways and Walkway Areas.
    • Weekly edging during fast growth months
  • Blowing Down Of All Pavement Areas.

Seasonal Bolton Lawn Care Mower Deck Heights

  • April 1st – June 15th: 3.0 – 3.5 inches
  • June 16th – Sept 1st: 3.25 – 4.0 inches
  • Sept 2nd- Dec 1st: 2.75 – 3.25 inches

We like to keep the grass a little higher during the late spring and summer months. Removing more than 1/3 of the grass blade on a lawn cut will stress and damage grass blades. This makes lawns more susceptible to disease, drought and allows weeds to take over. Mowing higher will choke out weeds, and allow turf to grow thicker and spread faster. This also allows for less herbicide sprays and a more natural lawn. However, we have customers who prefer the grass at a certain height (even against our recommendation) and we will cut it to their preference!

Professional Landscape Cleanup Service

Choose from The Bolton Landscape Cleanup Program and Single Cleanups

Cleanups include weeding, edging and adding fresh mulch to all existing flower bed areas on your property.During your cleanup our crews trim all shrubs/hedges on the property. Tree Trimming can also be added (trees under 20 feet)At the end of each cleanup we gather the loose debris from the cleanup and take it with us.

The Bolton Landscape Cleanup Program

3 Annual Cleanups (Spring, Summer, Winter)

The Bolton Landscape Cleanup Program will make sure your garden beds are looking incredible all year long.  This approach will not only keep your mulch and flower beds looking better, it will keep them healthier and save a lot of money compared to doing 2-3 separate cleanups.  One time cleanups have a larger cost due to the overgrowth, which can be avoided with our program.  You’ll end up spending a lot less in the long run with this cleanup program.

  • 1st Clean-up (Spring Cleanup): Typically during the spring. This opens your lawn/landscape up from a cold winter. Our crew weeds, re-edge’s existing flower beds, trims shrubs/ hedges, and cleans up leaf/small debris removal. After that we apply a pre-emergent herbicide to the flower beds before adding fresh double shredded hardwood mulch.
  • 2nd Clean-up (Summer Cleanup): During summer, between June and August. All loose debris and weeds will be removed from garden beds. All shrubs will receive a second trimming.
  • 3rd Cleanup-up (Winter Cleanup): During January/February, the winter cleanup is intended to give the property a “once-over” to gather organic debris that accumulates on the property during the winter months *Leaf Removal is in November/December and is an available add-on to the program. No new mulch is applied during this visit.

One Time Cleanup

Weeding and re-edging of existing flower beds, trimming of shrubs/hedges, fresh mulch applied, leaf/small debris removal (pre-emergent herbicide is applied to flower beds before mulching during spring time only).

Check Out Some Of Our Work Below!

Unbiased Review Of The Toro Grandstand Mower

This past year, our company picked up two Toro Grandstand models from our local dealer. We thought writing a review of the Toro Grandstand would be very useful for other landscapers. We had previously owned a Gravely ProTurn 160, and decided to trade that in for our first Grandstand. Fast forward to two months later, we were already buying our second Toro Grandstand!

We have no affiliation with Toro, but somehow over the years have ended up with almost all Toro mowers in our fleet. I am really impressed with the quality of build that Toro makes for all of their mowers, whether it’s the Toro Timecutter, TimeMaster or Grandstand, we love them all.

Quality and Compactness Of The Build

toro grandstand compactness review

I think almost all commercial lawn mowers have a similar build quality, but Toro in my opinion has one of the smartest builds for stand on mowers. Let me start with the platform. We absolutely love how you can flip up the platform and the mower becomes so compact. You can fit two grandstands on a 10 foot trailers! With a sit down rider, you can’t even fit one rider and a 36″ walk behind mower comfortably. From the front of the mower deck to the back tires, Toro Grandstands are about 54 inches. My 36″ walk behind for comparison is 70″ long.

If you are trying to minimize the amount of shop space a trailer takes up, getting 10 ft. trailers as opposed to 16 ft. trailers makes an enormous difference. We had zero serious issues in the 750 hours combined we put on our two grandstands.

review of toro grandstand
This was a tight fit on our 12 ft. trailer. This setup would not work on our 10 ft. trailer.

How Efficient Are Toro Grandstands?

Having the 10 gallon gas tank is a huge benefit for our company. We burn about 5 Gallons of gas per day, so we have to fill up every other day. This may seem like small times savings, but not having to go to a gas station and physically fill up, is awesome.

If I have one criticism of the Toro Grandstand, it would be mainly with the 22 HP Kawasaki Engine. Kawasaki makes amazing engines that last awhile, but they do tend to burn gas pretty fast especially in the Spring with thick grass. Having more horsepower on the Grandstand I bought would be nice, but definitely not a necessity.

Now, let’s talk about the real efficiency I’m most concerned with as a business owner. How quick are these mowers able to finish cutting a lawn? Top speed for these machines are around 8 MPH, but nobody ever cuts a lawn that fast unless it’s the summer time. The speed difference compared to the Gravely ProTurn160 (Gravely was a 60″ deck and my Grandstand is a 52″ deck) is very small. The Gravely was definitely faster on my properties that are an acre and above, but I attribute that to the 8″ bigger deck. The physical speed of the mower in my opinion is definitely faster. On my typical 1/2 acre property, I can’t honestly say the Grandstand is slower.

I love the 52″ deck because it makes it slightly more versatile than the 60″. The 60″ can be hard to get into clients backyards, and a little harder to fit between obstacles such as trees or shrubbery. To me, the 52″ just seems like the best mower deck size for residential lawn mowing service.


  • Compact design saves shop and trailer space.
  • Very comfortable ride.
  • Easy deck height adjustment.
  • Top of the line cut quality.
  • Smooth turning and controls.
  • The easiest mower that I’ve seen new employees get comfortable with using.
  • Incredibly easy access to drain/change hydro oil.
  • Very easy to clean.
  • Easy to hop on and off the mower.


  • 22 HP Kawasaki seems a little under powered.
  • Deck height lever sticks out and sometimes gets caught on branches.
  • Very inconvenient oil drain valve placement makes oil changes annoying.

toro grandstand review


The price of our machine was around $9,300 after taxes, which is roughly the same as the Toro Z Master 3000 rider. Really no savings in getting the stander. I wish Toro could figure out a way to lower the price on these machines but hey, so does everyone else.


This is where I think the Toro Grandstand review really shines. There are so many attachments that you can add to this machine that make it more than just a lawn mower. D’ttach Manufacturing makes awesome products such as leaf plows, aerators, and more than make it a year round unit.

These mowers hold hills extremely well, and I feel 10x safe on steep hills than I did on any sit down mower. Knowing I can easily hop off the platform and be safe is a huge relief.

My team members also love using these machines. They’re honestly just really fun to use. Standing all day isn’t as bad as you think, and we even bought a stand on seat from Ballard products which you can attach to the stand on platform. Customers also love seeing a landscaping company stand and not sit. The perception is that the workers are less lazy and more likely to pick up debris instead of running it over. This isn’t just perception, it’s TRUE. I see my team members always hopping off to pickup sticks and trash instead of running it over.

Toro Grandstand Review Conclusion

We really love these machines and will definitely be purchasing more in the future as we grow. There are simply not many “cons” with the Toro Grandstand. I hope you enjoyed this Toro Grandstand review. Email us if you have any questions!

Looking for lawn mowing service in Warrington PA? Reach out to us today for a free estimate!

Fall Leaf Removal Service

Fall Leaf Cleanups And Leaf Removal Service

fall leaf removal service

We are scheduling fall leaf cleanups in New Britain, Chalfont, Doylestown, Warrington and surrounding towns now so please contact us for a free leaf removal/leaf cleanup estimate!

We’ve written before on our blog about the importance of cleaning your leaves for a healthy lawn. Fall leaf cleanup is essential for preserving a healthy lawn. Leaves, when mulched up by a mower are great organic compost. However, if left sitting on your lawn, will undoubtedly invite disease to plague your lawn next spring.

Leaf Cleanup Programs

  • Dual Cleanup Program
    • Our dual leaf cleanup program includes 2 leaf cleanup visits starting in November, followed by a second leaf cleanup in December or January. Over the years we have come to realize that most properties need two cleanups. During both property visits, our clients also get a lawn cut.
  • Single Leaf Cleanup
    • As the name states, a single leaf cleanup after all leaves have fallen. For a single property cleanup with disposal of leaves (in the woods, compost bin etc.) we charge the crew’s hourly rate. Single cleanups with leaves hauled off the property by our crew will be charged the hourly rate plus a disposal fee depending on the volume collected.

Leaf Removal Company

Our professional team uses commercial leaf blowers, walk behind blowers and rakes to clean out all beds and we finish by hauling them away with our heavy duty debris loader and dump trailer combination.

Our team is highly efficient at doing cleanups. We survey the property before we begin the timer and establish the fastest way to get in and get out, saving the customer money in the end.

For wooded properties that do not need leaves hauled away, we only charge the per hour man rate.