Avoid ‘Brown Patch” on Turf this Summer

Spotting Brown Patch

Brown patch symptoms can vary depending on the grass variety, the soil as well as climate. Once it takes hold, the disease can spread quickly and begins to appear with 24 – 36 hours after infection. In the early morning on close cut turfgrasses, a dark smoky ring may appear at the periphery of the patch. This smoky ring transforms as the day progresses into a uniformly light brown or straw color.

Typically, brown patch causes rings or patches of blighted grass that measure from 5″ to more than 10′ in diameter. It also causes leaf spots and thin rings with brown borders around the diseased patches. Under close examination of the blades, irregular spots may be noticed that is bordered by a darker margin.

brown patch rottingAfter the leaves die in the blighted area, new leaves can emerge from the surviving crowns. On wide-bladed species, leaf lesions develop with tan centers and dark brown to black margins.

Brown patch favors high humidity and temperatures over 85 degrees during the day and not below 65 at night. On warm season grasses, this disease can be very active in the spring and fall. It also occurs in areas that receive more than 10 hours a day of wetness for consecutive days.

Brown patch infestation is more severe when the grass is cut to a height less than the optimum for the variety of grass.

Prevention

The best prevention for brown patch is to aerate often, reduce shade to effected areas, and follow a fertilization schedule to help prevent fertilization with excess amounts of nitrogen. Avoid irrigating late in the day. Do not over-fertilize.

Treatment

The most common fungicides used on Brown Patch are: benomyl, and chlorothalonil. The brown patch fungus will survive in thatch and turf debris between periods of activity. Chemical controls are available, but should only be applied by licensed applicators. Contact your local lawn care provider for additional information.

Lawn Diseases are Easier to Prevent than to Cure

Here are a few ways we can work together to keep some lawn diseases out of your lawn:

  • Signature Landscapes’ lawn fertilization program controls unhealthy bursts of turf growth that can attract disease.
  • Regular core aeration helps nutrients and water reach roots and breaks up thatch, which is one place diseases like to breed.
  • Deep, infrequent watering in the early morning, keeps moisture from remaining on the grass surface too long, which attracts disease.
  • Mowing frequently, at a high height and with a sharp mower blade, further helps to keep disease out.
  • Overseeding with disease-resistant grasses is another option you can consider.

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If you suspect your lawn has any type of lawn disease, contact the Signature Landscapes team about treatment services immediately. Quick action can make a big difference to save your lawn.

To learn more from the pros… you can visit these links:

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has a great brochure about your turf. It’s not always a disease! It’s worth the time to download and read!
Click to view PDF