5 Most Common Lawn Diseases in Spring & How to Treat Them


Spring is here, marking the beginning of the prime season for lawn care.

Any work done during this period is essential for setting the conditions of your lawn throughout the year. While it is the time when most grasses emerge from winter dormancy, lawn diseases can also become a concern. In Florida, where warm and humid weather contributes to lush, green growth, it also creates an environment favorable for lawn diseases.

How to Identify Common Lawn Diseases in Spring in Florida

Even with proper upkeep, there is always a risk that lawn diseases can emerge, spread, and damage your lawn when the weather becomes warmer. The good news is you can be ready! By identifying the signs of lawn disease or fungus early, you can take the necessary measures to address them before they spread further and keep your grass healthy. Preventive measures are crucial, but in severe situations, you can repair the damage with grass repair pods, which we will discuss later in the article.

Fairy Ring Disease

Fairy ring is a common fungal disease characterized by dark green circles on the lawn, often with white mushrooms along the edges. Affected grass can become weak and turn tan with hints of green. These circles range from 4 to 12 inches wide, with rings expanding up to 50 yards in diameter.

This fungal lawn disease is caused by a fungus called Marasmius oreades that feeds on dead organic matter in the soil. Factors like excessive soil moisture, poor drainage, and organic debris, like leaves or tree stumps, can contribute to its spread.

Brown Patch Disease

Brown patch disease is one of the most damaging fungal diseases. It appears as dried-out irregular patches of brown grass that range from a few inches to a few feet. It affects both warm-season and cool-season grasses, targeting the roots and crowns and potentially damaging your grass plants beyond recovery.

This disease usually emerges when temperatures reach around 65 degrees F and is exacerbated by factors like poor drainage, overwatering, excessive fertilization, and inadequate air circulation. If you see signs of drought stress, with dry, patchy areas of dead grass in your lawn, it could be a sign of brown patch disease. Because it spreads rapidly, immediate treatment is crucial to prevent further damage to your lawn.

Dollar Spot Disease

Dollar spot is characterized by straw or tan-colored patches of dead grass, often with a reddish-brown border, roughly the size of a silver dollar. In severe cases, these patches may merge to form larger areas of dead grass.

The lawn fungus Sclerotinia homoeocarpa causes this disease. It thrives in warm, humid conditions, particularly after rainy nights. It spreads through the air or by contact with grass blades, explaining why avoiding foot traffic on your lawn is essential to prevent further spreading.

Red Thread Disease

Red thread, also called pink patch, is most prevalent in the spring. It thrives in warm, humid conditions, particularly in poorly draining or nutrient-deficient soils. This fungal disease is recognizable by the red or coral-pink thread-like strands on the tips of brown grass blades.

As the infection progresses, these fibers can clump into web-like masses, leading to brown patches that can size up to six inches in diameter. If left untreated, these patches can further expand, merge, and become more apparent, ultimately resulting in a thin, weak, and unattractive lawn.

Leaf Spot Disease

Leaf spot particularly affects warm-season grass varieties like Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine. This lawn disease initially appears as circular and tan or brown lesions on the grass blades. These lesions may turn dark brown or black as the infection progresses, spreading further across the grass.

The affected area can grow larger, and your lawn will start to thin out, wither, and die. Besides leaf damage, it can also rot the roots.


How to Prevent Common Lawn Diseases in Florida

These fungal lawn diseases often emerge in the spring under certain conditions: high humidity, prolonged moisture, and poor soil conditions that can lead to stressed and weakened grass with heightened susceptibility to diseases.

Overall, these factors underscore the importance of spring lawn care in strengthening lawns and preventing lawn disease as the grass enters its peak growing season.


Watering less frequently but more deeply prevents fungal lawn diseases. This approach encourages deeper and denser root growth, resulting in a strong and healthy lawn that is more resistant to diseases. We also recommend watering early in the morning to allow the water to penetrate the soil and reach the roots before it evaporates in the heat of the day. Avoid watering in the evening—it can leave the soil cool and damp overnight, creating conditions conducive to fungal growth.


Mow your lawn correctly to prevent lawn diseases. Ensure you are mowing at the right height to avoid scalping, which stresses the grass and makes it more susceptible to diseases. For warm-season grasses, maintain a height between 2 to 2.5 inches. Keep your mower blades sharp to avoid tearing the grass, making it vulnerable to diseases.


Too little or too much fertilizer can equally stress the grass, making it more susceptible to diseases. Inadequate fertilization can lead to nutrient deficiencies, weakening the grass, while excessive fertilizer can stress and weaken it further. Conducting a soil test is valuable for determining any deficiencies in the soil, which allows you to apply the right type and amount of lawn fertilizers for optimal grass health and disease resistance.


Core aeration provides several benefits for your lawn, such as relieving compacted soil to allow the grass roots to grow deeper and access water and nutrients more effectively. It also increases air circulation in the soil, which reduces the risk of diseases by creating a less favorable environment for fungi.

This process, achieved by removing soil plugs from the ground using a grass plug tool, is particularly beneficial before planting new grass in late spring, whether from grass seeds or grass plugs, as it creates optimal conditions for successful establishment.


While a thin layer of thatch can be beneficial for water retention and soil insulation, an excessive thatch layer that exceeds half an inch can lead to problems. It acts as a barrier, preventing water and nutrients from reaching the soil, and can harbor pests and diseases, further damaging the lawn.

Dethatching is the process of reducing excess thatch, which helps improve soil drainage and prevents diseases. Read here for a more in-depth guide on how to dethatch a lawn.


Repair Disease Damage with SodPods® Grass Plugs

Proper lawn care practices are essential for preventing these common lawn diseases. Addressing poor soil conditions, such as poor air circulation, compacted soil, and poor drainage, creates an unfavorable environment for grass diseases to thrive. Additionally, it's crucial to follow proper watering and fertilizing techniques to provide your grass with the necessary nourishment for a healthy lawn.

These fungal diseases should run their course with your spring lawn care efforts. However, in cases of more severe infections, fungicide treatment may be necessary to control their spread. If damage has occurred, consider replacing patches of brown grass with grass plugs.

SodPods® grass plugs offer several advantages over other options: they establish faster than grass seed and require less water than traditional sod since their roots are mature and intact, and thus more resistant to stress, pests, and diseases.


Proper maintenance is key to a healthy lawn, particularly in early spring, as the grass emerges from winter dormancy and through summer when warm-season grass is actively growing. Implementing spring lawn care practices not only prevents future weeds but also keeps your lawn healthy and green.

Our wide range of warm-season grass is crucial in this maintenance, providing a fast and resilient solution for damaged areas. Buy grass plugs for sale at the Try SodPods® website today!


Jamie Tedder

Jamie surrently serve as Vice President on the board for Turfgrass Producers of Florida. He currently oversees the production of all grasses throughout all farms in Florida at Bethel Farms. He is actively working with top grass breeders, researchers, producers and end users from public and private institutions around the country to stay up to date on current industry developments. Being a University of Florida graduate, he has applied that knowledge to over 22 years of experience growing spectacular grass!

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