Anthracnose [Colletotrichum graminicola]

Anthracnose Disease - Turf Care
Anthracnose is caused by the fungus Colletotrichum graminicola. Anthracnose can occur on many different lawn grasses but annual meadow grass is very susceptible, anthracnose is also known as 'Basal Rot of Annual Meadow Grass'.

Identification of Anthracnose

Anthracnose usually occurs during late summer and early autumn. The first sign of this disease is the yellowing of individual annual meadow grass plants in the lawn. As the condition deteriorates the colour turns to an orange - red. The leaf can be easily pulled from the crown of the plant which turns black where the rotting occurs.

Conditions that favour Anthracnose

Anthracnose is a problems on UK lawns during the latter end of the growing season, the conditions that favour this disease are as follows.

  • Annual meadow grass is very susceptible to this disease, therefore having a high percentage of this grass increases the risk of anthracnose.

  • Stressed and compacted turf favours anthracnose disease.

  • Low fertility encourages an attack of anthracnose.

  • Prolonged soil wetness will favour the disease.

Prevention and control of Anthracnose

By addressing the conditions that favour this disease as listed above, and maintaining a healthy lawn you will help prevent this disease occurring. Chemical control is rarely needed on a garden lawn. Simply follow the correct turf management techniques and you should be able to prevent this disease. These methods include.

  • Change the grass species from annual meadow grass to a better quality species with good lawn care practices and this will help with disease resistance.

  • Maintain adequate nutrient levels with a balanced fertiliser program, however care must be taken not to apply too much nitrogen during the autumn as it could encourage fusarium.

  • Aeration will help reduce compaction and stress on the turf.

  • Improve the drainage of the lawn if it is a problem.