Lawn Diseases: Leaf Smut

You may think that, what with autumn right around the corner, you've finally escaped the nuisance of lawn diseases.  Unfortunately, the lawn care battle rages on as leaf smut appears and thrives in the chillier weather.  Don't let your lawn care in Burlington go to waste – tackle this common lawn disease to prevent further problems come spring.  

What is leaf smut?
Smuts are stunted and green in colour with yellow stripes that turn black over time.  These black stripes are the areas that release spores.  Once spores are released, the smut will die.  They will appear to be shredded.  Some homeowners worry about their health when leaf smut spores begin infecting their lawn.  Don't worry, as the spores have no affect on the health of people.  

Leaf smuts are a fungal infection.  With so many lawn diseases, it can be difficult to clarify which fungal infection is attacking your lawn and what lawn care treatment will provide the appropriate fix.  If you need professional help with your lawn care, contact one of Nutri-Lawn Burlington's grass experts. 

When does leaf smut infect a lawn?
You may be infested with leaf smut without even realizing what it is.  Leaf smut infestations sprout up in the cool weather of spring and fall, and fade in the heat of summer.  The cool of spring and fall help the fungus develop.  Bluegrasses and bentgrasses are most susceptible, but a majority of turf grasses can develops smuts. 

While most of the damage done by smuts occurs in the spring when spore production is highest, fall infections are still dangerous.  This is because spring infections generally die throughout the summer.  Fall infections, on the other hand, lay dormant through the winter and can reoccur in the spring, causing significant damage.  

How can I control leaf smut with lawn care?
There are a few ways you can control leaf smut: 

  • Use balanced fertilizer.  Over fertilizing is actually a major issue that can lead to lawn diseases, yet homeowners rarely realize this is possible.  Find a fertilizer that is well balanced for your lawn, and only fertilize your lawn four to five times a year, (twice during the fall).  If you fertilize too much, your thatch layer could become too thick.  This is from an overabundance of grass as it grows faster than it should and can bring about diseases.    
  • Overseed with grass varieties that are less susceptible to leaf smut.  Certain varieties of grass are more resistant to lawn diseases.  By mixing these resistant species with your pre-existing turf, you can create a lawn that is nearly smut-free – at least to the point where smuts won’t be visible. 
  • Use your irrigation services properly.  A major step in ridding leaf smuts from your lawn in Burlington is having a healthy lawn than can resist diseases.  Water your lawn only for an inch a week, and deeply.  If you overwater, the moisture will collect on the grass blades and encourage fungal infection.  Don't water at night as it this can also lead to an overabundance of moisture. Early morning treatments are best.


Don't bother removing the leaf smut clippings from the grass if you cut them down, as these won't increase the infestation that is already there.

For the best lawn care tips and irrigation services, contact Nutri-Lawn Burlington for your complimentary quote today!