If your new lawn turf begins to develop dead-looking brown areas, ring marks or slimy patches, it is being attacked by a form of lawn fungus. What causes fungus to develop in your lawn turf? Your lawn is actually full of fungal spores. Usually these cause no problems for your grass, but under certain conditions, they can germinate and cause harmful diseases. Lawn fungus is commonly caused by: • Under-watering • Cutting the grass too short • Compacted ground • Over-watering • Too much fertiliser • High humidity and high temperatures Many of these problems are caused by poor management practices, which can be remedied easily. Preventing and treating lawn turf fungus If your lawn begins to show signs of disease, it’s a good idea to have a soil test conducted. A soil test will identify specific diseases, together with deficiencies in nutrients that could predispose the lawn to disease. Your local garden centre will be able to test a small sample of your soil for you. At the end of each summer when the ground has become hard and compacted by foot traffic, hire an aerator from your local tool hire shop and aerate your lawn. You should also rake the lawn with a spring rake to remove thatch and allow the grass to breathe. If parts of your lawn are under heavy shade or overgrowth of surrounding bushes, cut these back so that the lawn gets plenty of sun to prevent damp, mossy patches from forming. When watering your lawn turf, take care not to overdo it and leave soggy patches where water lies for hours. Watering your grass thoroughly but less frequently encourages the grass plants to take up water and develop a stronger root system, which is more resilient to invasion by fungus. When mowing your lawn turf, keep your mower blade sharp so that the grass plants are not damaged when you cut. Aim to cut your lawn frequently and leave a little length on the plants, rather than scalping the grass completely. Cutting the grass too short can leave it vulnerable to fungal diseases. Fertilise your roll on lawn in the autumn to get the plants through the winter and again in the spring to give the plants extra nutrition during the growing season. Choose proper grass fertiliser that is suitable for the kind of grass you have. Your local garden centre will advise you on what to use. For more advice on caring for your new lawn turf, contact the helpful team at London Lawn Turf.