White spots on grasses could indicate that the plants are being attacked by fungi and other microbes. The spots could also mean that your soil is poor or your lawn is stressed.
It does not matter the cause; you can easily fix your lawn problem. Read this article to find out how.
- Why Do Your Grasses Have White Spots?
- How Do You Fix Your Grasses With White Spots?
Why Do Your Grasses Have White Spots?
Your grasses have white spots because of fungal attacks, excess organic nutrients, the use of hard water, stress caused by mowing, bacterial attack, and even possibly sunburn! To effectively treat the symptom you have to ascertain the reason behind it.
– Fungal Attack
The most common reason why white spots can appear on your grasses is the attack of different types of fungi. Fungal species such as powdery mildew, gray leaf spot, blight, and gray snow mold (fusarium patch) frequently attack grasses and leave white, gray, yellow, or tan spots on your grass blades.
Most of these species are very harmful to your grasses and attack grasses growing in bad conditions.
If you overwater your grasses or the humidity level between the grass blades and substrate is too high, your grasses can get attacked by fungi. You can tell that your grasses are attacked by fungi when you see the spots spreading rapidly from one grass to the next.
– Excess Organic Nutrients
Another reason why your grasses can get attacked by fungi is when you give them more nutrients than they need.
Amending your lawn’s substrate with organic nutrients is good, but if you use too much, you can attract fungi. Remember that fungi are the chief decomposers in nature. This means that when you use organic nutrients (which are usually not fully decomposed), you will surely get fungi.
The right amount of fungi in your substrate is beneficial both to the substrate and grasses. However, too many fungi can harm your grasses. This means that you do not want to use too much fertilizer.
– Lack of Light
If your grasses are turning white or pale, especially in fall months or days without much sunlight, they could be turning white because of a lack of light.
Like every other plant, grasses need sunlight for photosynthesis and to produce green leaves. This means that your lawn’s grass turning white or pale could mean that it needs more sunlight.
What species of grass are you growing on your lawn? How much sunlight does your grass species require? How much sunlight do your grasses receive daily? If you do not grow your grasses in the right conditions, they might turn pale and die.
– Use of Hard Water
If you water your lawn with hard water, you may be exposing your plants to more minerals than they need. While this can kill them, the first sign that you’ll see if the water is too hard is that your grasses will have specks of dust-like minerals on their blades. These minerals are from the hard water that you use in watering your grasses.
When grasses absorb water from their roots, they permit the water to evaporate from their leaves through transpiration. However, hard water leaves its minerals on the leaves, as these minerals do not evaporate.
These minerals are usually easy to clean off the blades, but you need to check the hardness of the water that you use for your lawn.
Lack of Nutrients
Even though too many organic nutrients can cause white fungi to attack your grasses, the lack of nutrients, especially nitrogen can cause the grass blades to turn pale or white. While the entire blade will become pale, it usually starts as white or yellow spots. If the grasses are turning pale because of a deficiency of nutrients, you need to check your fertilizer.
What do you feed your grasses with? How often do you fertilize the lawn? Check that your fertilizer has enough nitrogen, iron, magnesium, and other nutrients. Also, feed the lawn every month or two (as recommended in the product’s instructions).
Even though the lack of light can make your grass blades turn pale or white, too much sunlight can also produce a similar result. In this case, your grass blades will burn and you will notice brown, yellow, or white tips. If you see the tips of your grass blades losing their color and curling up, it is a sign that the light exposure of the lawn is too much.
How much sunlight do your grass get every day? What species of grasses are you growing? Put these into consideration when trying to figure out why your grasses have white spots on their blades.
– Stress Caused by Mowing the Lawn
If you mow your grasses too often and do not wait until they reach their ideal height before you mow them, they can get stressed. Stressed grasses have stunted growth and can get pale, yellow, or white spots on their blades.
How often do you mow your lawn? Do you wait until your grasses reach 3-4 inches or higher before you cut them? These questions can tell you if you are mowing the lawn too often or not.
– Bacterial Attack
What if your grasses have a lawn disease such as the bacterial leaf spot? Bacteria and other microbes can kill your lawn, so you need to be watchful. If your grasses have such a disease, they will get white or yellow spots and these spots will turn brown and dry with time. Grasses that are exposed to bacteria, especially after they were cut, usually get the disease.
– Could Be Paint or Snow
What if you have nothing to worry about and the spots that you see on your grass blades are just dust, paint, or snow? If winter is approaching, you will surely see white spots on the grass blades. If you do not spray water on the grass leaves often, you will see a lot of dust settle on the blades.
If you have kids and paint at home, your kids may spray paint on the lawn. As you can see, you need to carefully look at the spots. The spots may not be as harmful as you think.
How Do You Fix Your Grasses With White Spots?
To fix your grasses with white spots you can start by properly feeding the grasses, reducing your watering rate, using a baking soda solution, using chemical fungicides, increasing the sun exposure, and waiting to cut the grass once it’s grown a little taller.
– Properly Feed the Grasses
Lack of nutrients, especially nitrogen can cause your grass blade to turn white or pale. An excess of nutrients, especially organic ones can attract fungi to your lawn.
This means that you want to balance your use of fertilizer. You should use less nitrogen in case you have had a fungal attack on your lawn before and use a more balanced fertilizer for the lawn.
If you feed the lawn by fertigation, ensure that you reduce the amount of fertilizer in the water. You may fertilize your grasses monthly or every two months in their active growing season, but use half or quarter-strength depending on the type of fertilizer.
– Reduce the Watering Rate
An excess amount of water on your lawn will attract fungi, cause root rot, and increase the humidity level between your grass blades and the soil. You only want to water your grasses at the right time. You can water the grasses in the morning so that the excess water can dry up before noon while some moisture remains in the substrate.
You can also wait until the substrate is getting dry before you water the lawn again. It does not matter when you choose to water your grasses, do not grow your grasses in water-logged soil.
– Use a Baking Soda Solution
A baking soda solution is a cheap yet effective product that you can use to get rid of fungi on your lawn. If your grasses have white spots because of fungi you can spray the baking soda solution on the blades and substrate.
A baking soda solution is simply a mixture of baking soda powder and water. Using a spray bottle, you should spray the product on the grasses.
If you want a slightly more effective yet cheap product, go to a gardening store and buy a potassium bicarbonate compound. This compound is a common active ingredient in so many fungicide brands. Just like the baking soda solution, mix the potassium bicarbonate with water and spray it on your lawn.
– Use Chemical Fungicides
The most effective and professional way to treat powdery mildew and get rid of other types of fungi is to use chemical fungicides.
These are products that get rid of fungi from your lawn quickly and help your grasses to recover in no time. When you want to buy fungicides for your lawn, make sure that you go to gardening stores so that you can be sure that the chemicals are plant-safe.
Even though the fungicides are plant-safe, you should not overuse them so that they do not kill the grasses in your lawn. Be sure to read and stick to the instructions.
– Use Homemade Pest Repellents
Just in case you have an insect problem in your lawn, you can easily get rid of the insects by using cheap insect repellents.
If you have the oil extracted from neem seed, you can easily repel insects with it as it is very effective in getting rid of invertebrates. Well, only use this oil when the day is cool (i.e. the temperature is low), as it can burn your plant leaves in warm temperatures.
You should dilute the oil with water so that your grasses can be safe. However, note that diluting it also reduces its effectiveness. Aside from neem oil, a cheaper product that you can use is soapy water. You can spray this product on your lawn whenever you want.
– Use Chemical Pesticides
Just in case the products above are not as effective as you expected, you can make use of chemical insecticides. With a chemical insecticide on your lawn, you can say bye to insects, as chemical insecticides are highly effective in killing insects and repelling them off your lawn.
Just as in other chemical products, make sure that you carefully read and stick to the instructions so that you do not harm your grasses.
Remember that using too little may not work as expected and using too much can kill your grasses. Also, make sure that the pesticide you choose to use is safe for grasses and other plants.
– Wait for the Grasses to Grow Taller
Using a lawn mower to cut your grass blades too often can stress the plants, so you should wait until the grasses add a few inches to their height before you cut them again. The ideal height of grasses that are ready for mowing is 3-4 inches.
Wait until the grasses reach 3-4 inches or a little bit more in height before you mow the lawn again. Also, ensure that your mower blades are clean and disinfected.
– Increase Sun Exposure
Lack of sunlight can make your grass blades turn pale or white, so you should remove any shade that blocks sunlight from reaching the grasses.
You want to make sure that your lawn gets up to six or more hours of sunlight daily. Well, if your lawn is in a place where up to six hours of sunlight cannot reach, you should look for species of grasses that can tolerate low light.
Grass species such as ryegrass, bermudagrass, and bluegrass can grow in low light and will not become pale when there is not enough light, so you can use them in your lawn instead. However, note that they have a slow growth rate.
– Ensure Proper Air Circulation
Air circulation is important, as it ensures that the humidity level in your lawn is not too much. Well, your own is already outside, so there is proper air circulation.
However, you should remove debris, thatch, and other unwanted objects from the ground so that air can reach your grass substrate and roots.
Now you can grow your grasses without the fear of diseases.
Here are some take-home points from this article:
- If you cut your lawn too often, you may stress the grasses and this stress can turn the grass blades white or pale.
- The most common cause of a white lawn is a fungal attack. Ensure to grow your lawn in the right conditions to prevent fungi from attacking your grasses.
- To get rid of fungi quickly, make use of fungicides and other homemade products such as baking soda.
- Watering your grasses with hard water can lead to white minerals covering the grass blades.
- Properly feed your grasses so that they do not have too much or too little nitrogen, as grasses can turn white when the nitrogen is too much or too little.
You are no longer afraid of lawn diseases, right? Be sure to grow your grasses in the right conditions.
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