Leaf Spot and Melting-out

Overview of leaf spot and melting-out

A fungal disease called leaf spot and melting-out is one of the most common turfgrass diseases in Iowa. The fungi that cause leaf spot and melting-out and the spots they cause can be found on most lawns without the occurrence of substantial damage.

Image of leaf spot and melting-out
Leaf spot and melting-out 

Signs and symptoms of leaf spot and melting-out 

In Iowa, outbreaks generally occur late spring through June, especially when weather conditions are warm and humid. In advanced stages, melting-out (thinning or death of the grass) may occur in large areas.

Disease cycle of leaf spot and melting-out

Newly seeded lawns and the presence of a turfgrass variety particularly sensitive to leaf spot and melting-out fungi can also contribute to severe outbreaks.

Insect or drought injury can mimic leaf spot and melting-out. If the symptoms are mistaken for drought stress, and water is applied to remedy the situation, grass health probably won't improve. In fact, additional moisture could cause the disease to become worse.

Type of Sample Needed for Diagnosis and Confirmation

The Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic can help you to investigate and confirm if you plant has this disease. Please see our website for current forms, fees, and instructions on collecting and packing samples. Contact information for each states diagnostic laboratory for U.S. residents.  If your sample is from outside of Iowa please do not submit it to the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic without contacting us

Management of  leaf spot and melting-out

Cultural practices that maintain healthy turfgrass are essential for leaf spot and melting-out prevention and control. Maintenance of plant vigor can help avoid severe outbreaks when conditions are favorable for disease development. Fungicides are rarely needed to control leaf spot and melting out.

See this bulletin about leaf spot and melting out.

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Yard and Garden, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on September 1, 2016. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.