Turfgrass Diseases

Turfgrasses in Kansas can be affected by numerous plant diseases and environmental stresses.

Visit the combined extension turfgrass work of Horticulture and Plant Pathology

Annual bluegrass and creeping bentgrass putting greens are susceptible to turfgrass anthracnose, a disease caused by the fungus Colletotrichum cereale. This fungus is also sometimes found on dying leaves of Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue during periods of heat or moisture stress but is not considered a serious problem on these turfgrass species.
Brown patch, caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani, is common on tall fescue lawns in Kansas during the summer. The fungus becomes highly active when conditions are moist and nighttime low temperatures are above 65ᵒ F, with dew and high humidity.
Brown patch is common on tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and creeping bentgrass during hot, humid summer weather. The disease is caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani.
Dollar spot is caused by the fungus Sclerotinia homoeocarpa. It can develop throughout the growing season, but in Kansas it is most common in spring through early summer and again in late summer through early fall.
Fairy rings are caused by many different fungi, including some that produce mushrooms and puffballs. These fungi grow through the thatch and soil, consuming organic matter.
Mosses are difficult-to-control weeds in both taller-cut lawns and low-mow golf course putting greens. Several different species of moss can infest lawn-height stands of turfgrass, but silvery-thread moss (Bryum argenteum Hedw.) is the most common species found in close-cut turf, such as golf course putting greens.
All turfgrass species are susceptible to rust diseases. Several fungi in the genus Puccinia cause rust in turf. The level of susceptibility is affected by environmental conditions, shade, turfgrass cultivar, and management practices.
Slime molds are not true fungi. They are primitive microorganisms that come in many shapes, colors, and sizes. They can appear like slime or ooze when wet.
Summer patch is a root disease of several cool-season turfgrasses. In Kansas, it occurs in Kentucky bluegrass lawns, fairways, roughs, and ballfields. The disease also develops in putting greens, especially annual bluegrass.
Yellow patch, also called cool-season brown patch, affects cool-season grasses. In Kansas, the disease primarily occurs on golf course putting greens and collars from fall through spring. The disease causes superficial ring patterns in turf that quickly recover during warmer weather.

Other Resources

K-State Turfgrass & Landscape Blog

The K-State Turfgrass and Landscape Blog provides updates throughout the year. Please visit and subscribe to stay up-to-date with with news and research.

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Commercial Turfgrass Fungicide

The University of Kentucky, Rutgers, and the University of Wisconsin published a commercial turfgrass fungicide guide.

Read the guide (pdf)

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Megan Kennelly

Megan Kennelly

Department Head
Turf & Ornamentals

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