what is brown patch lawn disease?

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Brown Patch Lawn DiseaseBrown Patch Lawn Disease

on May 6, 2013 by TruGreen

Brown Patch lawn disease is a common and widespread fungus that, like Dollar Spot, can infect a variety of common turfgrasses. Brown Patch thrives when hot weather and high humidity settle in during the summer months. Uncommon in arid regions such as Southern California and the Mountain States, Brown Patch is a problem for yard-lovers in every other part of the U.S.

identifying brown patch lawn disease

If you see spotting on your leaf blades—which can eventually bleed together to turn the entire leaf brown—suspect Brown Patch is invading your lawn. Patches are typically irregular and can be quite large. This spotting can take on different appearances depending on the characteristics of the grass it infects:

  • Closely mown grasses: Any grass you should cut short, like some Zoysias, will show circular rings of brown patches and an expanding gray ring on the outer edge—most noticeable when the grass is damp, especially in the early morning hours.
  • High-cut grasses: Grasses that are kept taller often exhibit circular or nearly circular brown areas, but without the visible details of gray exterior.
  • Tall fescue: Tall fescue varieties often won’t exhibit the characteristic circular patterns. Rather, the fungus will appear on scattered blades of grass, so that the whole lawn may seem a little “off,” with a tannish cast rather than the vibrant green you want to see.

what causes brown patch lawn disease?

Rhizoctonia solani, a common lawn fungus, causes this particular disease. This particular brown lawn culprit spreads rapidly at temperatures between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit when humidity is very high.

Your yard can (and if you have it, most likely did) become infected during a period of cooler temperatures. The disease can take hold and develop well below 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but doesn’t spread and become apparent to the naked eye until temperatures and humidity levels rise. Dew, mist, or rain on leaf blades in these conditions can contribute to the rise of Brown Patch.

managing brown patch

The fungus that causes Brown Patch lawn disease is present in many areas. Disease prevention is very difficult if the grass species is susceptible. Proper watering in midday to prevent wet grass at night may be of some, but limited benefit. Proper mowing on a frequent basis to promote air movement and drying of the leaf blades may be of more benefit when battling Brown Patch. Use moderate amounts of nitrogenous fertilizer. Fungicides can be effective if applied before the onset of the disease.

Over-fertilization, under-fertilization, or improper mowing for your turf type can all encourage Brown Patch lawn disease. Consult a TruGreen® certified specialist to learn exactly what your lawn needs, and what changes you may need to make to achieve a lawn you’ll love. To schedule a consultation with one of our PhD-Certified Specialists, call 866.688.6722 or visit TruGreen.com. You’ll be on your way to finding out how to remedy that sad, brown lawn and rebuild the healthy, green lawn you’ll love. 

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