Why Is Your Grass Turning White?

Fear not, my lawn-loving friends! If you’ve noticed your grass taking on a white hue, don’t panic. It’s most likely a common condition called powdery mildew disease, also known as white grass. While it won’t cause any permanent damage to your precious turf, it can certainly diminish that vibrant green luster we all strive for.

Identifying The Signs of White Grass

Upon closer inspection, you may notice white powder-like spores appearing on the blades of your grass. As the disease progresses, a considerable portion of your lawn may turn powdery white. But before you jump to conclusions, let’s clarify something: powdery mildew is not the same as snow mold. While both can make your grass appear white, snow mold presents as a web-like covering on top of the grass, whereas powdery mildew coats the leaf blades themselves.

What Causes White Grass?

Powdery mildew tends to emerge in areas of your lawn that receive limited sunlight. Shaded spots around trees, buildings, and fences are particularly susceptible. Poor air circulation also plays a role in its development. You’ll notice this unwelcome visitor making its grand entrance in early spring and sticking around throughout the summer. It thrives in cool, cloudy conditions and revels in high humidity. The severity of the outbreak largely depends on weather conditions that facilitate its growth.

Older lawns are more prone to powdery mildew. If your lawn consists of Kentucky bluegrass or fine fescues that are 20 years old or older, or if you have bermudagrass, the chances of developing powdery mildew increase.

Further reading:  Applying Fertilizer to Wet Grass: What You Need to Know

How Can You Fix It?

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to combat this fluffy white invader:

  • Increase the amount of sunlight reaching your grass by trimming low-hanging branches or removing trees, if feasible.
  • Improve air circulation in shaded areas by thinning out shrubbery, pruning trees, or installing breathable fencing.
  • Cut back on nitrogen fertilizer, as it promotes powdery mildew activity.
  • Avoid watering your lawn at night. Instead, opt for early morning watering.
  • When reseeding your lawn, choose powdery mildew-resistant grass varieties. Shade-tolerant Kentucky bluegrass, improved fine fescues, fine-textured perennial ryegrass, turf-type tall fescues, and bermudagrass are excellent options. Seek guidance from county or university lawn extension services for advice on disease-resistant grass seed varieties suitable for your area.

Remember, my green-thumb aficionados, while powdery mildew may be a temporary eyesore, it can be managed with a little TLC. So roll up your sleeves, implement these strategies, and reclaim that vibrant, envy-inducing lawn once again.

For more gardening tips and tricks, visit the Ames Farm Center. Happy gardening!