For many people, keeping a green, uniform-looking lawn is important. A solid sheet of grass is not a natural environment, however, and invasive plants and organisms are constantly trying to break it up. Many varieties of fungus can appear in lawns, but a number of natural home remedies can alleviate problems associated with grass fungus. Some types of fungus can cause diseases in your yard, but treatment with fungicide is not recommended.
Many types of grass fungus can be beneficial for your grass, since they consume organic matter and produce natural fertiliser. Some varieties may produce mushrooms but do not cause disease. If the sight of such growths is not a concern, no action needs to be taken. To limit the spread of mushrooms, simply pick and dispose of them to prevent their spores from becoming airborne in your yard.
Other types of grass fungus can produce unsightly growth and diseases in the yard. Powdery mildew, red thread, lawn rust, slime moulds and fairy rings are all common problems. In certain cases, such as with rust, the diseases caused by out of control fungal growth can severely weaken a lawn. Periods of drought or extreme winter temperatures become much more likely to produce dead areas. Treatment with fungicides are generally not recommended by specialists in programs such as the University of Rhode Island's Landscape Horticulture Program.
Most of the tried and true home remedies for treating grass fungus are preventive, not aggressive. The best natural home remedy for dealing with grass fungus is to try to keep conditions in your lawn inhospitable to fungal growth. Problems like powdery mildew and dollar spot usually occur on lawns that are heavily shaded or overly moist. Methods to eliminate these conditions include pruning tree branches to eliminate excess shade or watering before the hottest part of the day.
Deal with other types of lawn fungus by simply conducting regular lawn maintenance. Removing piles of grass cuttings eliminates moist, nutrient-rich conditions in which fungus thrives. Natural home remedies like proper aeration and fertilisation of a lawn will encourage grass growth, requiring more frequent mowing to remove the tips of grass infected with fungal spores such as those of the rust fungus. Some types of fungus, like slime mould, can be simply raked or rinsed away.
In the case of fairy rings, one of the most common types of grass fungus, there are a few more aggressive natural home remedies. One remedy to kill fairy ring is placing two rings in contact with each other; the result is death for both rings. Transplant a sample of one fairy ring growth into another to achieve this result. Another method suggested by Environment Canada involves spiking a fairy ring with a spade and adding a combination of clean, soapy water to the holes over the next several weeks to eventually kill the lawn fungus.