Maryland is located in the Transitional Zone for types of turfgrasses to be grown in the state. That means that some Cool-Season grasses and some Warm-Season grasses can be grown. Zoysia is an excellent grass for this area.
Promoting healthy growth and avoiding conditions that cause stress to your turfgrass is the best way to prevent a severe disease outbreak. Stressed lawns are an open invitation for a lawn disease to gain a foothold. Optimal maintenance practices are the best way of avoiding stressed turfgrass.
Even if a pathogen is present in the soil, infection will not occur unless the environmental conditions are conducive to disease development. Once turf diseases have become active, they can cause heavy damage if not treated properly. Here is a list of common diseases to Maryland lawns:
Most turfgrass diseases are caused by pathogenic fungi that invade the leaves, stems or roots of plants, causing symptoms such as leaf spots, blighting, loss of stand density, root rot, or death of entire plants. Sometimes these fungi produce structures such as mushrooms, white powdery mildew or a fluffy, moldy growth. These fungi are present in most if not all soils.
Disease, however, generally occurs when environmental conditions favor growth of the fungus or other pathogens at a time when stress or other factors increase susceptibility of the turf. Turfgrass management and cultural practices such as mowing, irrigation, fertilization, thatch, traffic, soil pH and soil compaction alter the environment, and therefore have a major impact on the development of turf disease. The relationship between the environment, turf species, and pathogens are key factors in the development of diseases as well as their diagnosis and control.
Watch for environmental conditions that may promote turfgrass disease. Traffic and frequent low mowing can be extremely damaging to turf. Identify the symptoms of disease and make appropriate treatments promptly. Consult with your local lawn care professional for expert advice on handling possible lawn diseases that could be effecting your lawn's health.
Reputed benefits of adding gypsum state it provides relief of compaction and improvement of drainage. Advertisements often state that gypsum will turn heavy clays into an open, porous structure with improved drainage and better air and water movement. These types of results should only be expected where soil sodium levels are abnormally high.
Homeowners should not expect any major improvements in soil structure and drainage from gypsum applications. If sulfur or calcium levels are low enough to cause a turfgrass nutritional deficiency, then improvement of turfgrass growth and the root system could result in some improvement in the soil structure of the top 4" - 6" of soil. However, this would be a slow process.
Gypsum contains the plant nutrients sulfate and calcium, both of which may be deficient in sandy soils.
Gypsum can be an important tool in treating sodium (salt) damaged soils.
Gypsum does not affect soil pH. If soil pH is too acidic, use limestone rather than gypsum.
Gypsum should not be expected to substantially improve drainage on most Maryland soils.