Brown Patch Lawn Disease

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Brown Patch Lawn Disease

Brown patch is a very common lawn disease that is caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani. It is very prevalent in warm and humid areas attacking all different types of grasses like St. Augustine grass and Kentucky bluegrass. The disease appears in circular patches of dead grass sometimes in diameters of many feet. Using a quick-release nitrogen fertilizer can cause the grass to be susceptible to brown patch. When the disease becomes severe, it will attack the plant crowns and kill the grass.

How to Treat Brown Patch on Lawns

You can cure brown patch by using a contact fungicide. It is important that you treat the disease as soon as possible and continue to apply fungicide for several weeks after or as long as humid, warm weather persists. There are plenty of fungicides at Lowes or Home Depot that are marked as being able to treat brown patch disease.

How to Prevent Brown Patch Lawn Disease

Watering infrequently can help keep the grass as dry as possible. Also, try to water only early in the morning to prevent wet grass in the evenings. Control thatch by dethatching or aerating your lawn and make sure to follow a good annual fertilizer program. Stick with slow-release nitrogen fertilizer and try not to fertilize during heavy rains when the lawn is most saturated.


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14 comments

  1. Jennie Bingol

    Hello, We have a fungus really bad in our lawn and our lawn service is not handling it very well. What do you recommend us using to effectively treat this? I really believe that the lawn service company brought it to my lawn. I have been treating my own lawn for over 25 years and never had a fungus. The first time I signed up with a service company and the first time they came out I got this fungus. The owner of this service company told me he had several yards he had been treating for fungus. So I believe he used the same spreader in my yard after treating one of those mentioned yards.

    He misdiagnosed my problem to be “mole crickets” and would not listen to me when I kept telling him that it was a fungus and spreading rapidly. He finally came and treated but the circles grew to 30 ft in diameter by the time he treated it. So I would really like to have something on hand myself to treat in case it comes back. I now have two very large spots that have treated by this company and I have plugged in these large areas to speed up the repair.

    What can I purchase to keep on hand in case it comes again? My grass is Floritan St. Augustine. I live in Palm Coast, Florida,

    Also, I have to water regularly now to keep the plugs I planted alive. This home is our second home and we are not there but on weekends. So I had to set my sprinkler to run every other day so that the plugs won’t die. Now I am concerned this may be too much water, but what do I do?
    Thank you sincerely for you help.

    Jennie Bingol ( a Navy distressed spouse)

    • Hey Jennie,

      It’s certainly possible that the lawn service spread the fungus to your lawn if they didn’t wash their equipment before coming to your lawn. You can keep some fungicide on hand to spot treat. You definitely need to cut back on watering and fertilizing which can exacerbate the problem. If the soil looks compacted, then aeration will help too. An effective organic treatment is to apply corn meal and compost to the surface of the affected areas. Good luck!

  2. behram engineer

    sure ill try this very simple method of applying corn meal and compost. how long will it take to show results ? can i use vermicompost ? how does the corn meal work?
    will update you. thnx
    behram

    • Vermicompost is fine. Corn meal has anti-fungal properties which are effective for fighting some lawn diseases.

  3. I would call in a second opinion from another lawn care, and it needs to be treated immediately. Two applications are necessary. I don’t know how they confused mole crickets with brown patch b/c brown patch leaves an easily identifiable pattern…

    • Cherie C

      Is this my son Chad??? Noticed the last initial “C”…I find it unlikely that this is a coincidence. 😉 ♥

  4. Cristiane Barca

    I accidently applied round up in a few spots of my lawn about a week ago. Now I’ve noticed some yellow spots appearing . How do I correct this. Will the grass grow back or should I plant new grass.St Agostine and Bahia grass. Thanks for your answer

    • You can wait for the grass to grow back which may take some time or you could plant new grass in the bare spots if you’d like it filled in sooner.

  5. I have a large number of sizable brown spots on my lawn after recently fertilizing. NO ONE can seem to figure out if this is due to brown spot fungus … or from burning from over fertilizing. Is there ANYONE out there that can offer up advice. How can I determine if it is indeed brown spot fungus? SHould I treat with fungus control agent just in case? I was told to wait and see … but if I wait and see then if it is fungus it will only get worse.

    • Is there any reason to believe that your lawn was over fertilized? If you didn’t spill fertilizer concentrated areas, then I wouldn’t suspect that as a cause for brown spots. However, I know that I had more trouble with disease when I was using synthetic fertilizer. I’ve had very little disease since switching to organic.

  6. What do u think of using chemical fungicides while fertilizing organically? I know some people use corn meal but does corn meal work after you already have brown patch.?

    I like to fertilize w/ milorganite, is that a problem when u have a few brown patches/ brown patch?

    • It depends on how hardcore you are with organics compared to results. Sometimes organic methods can take a long time to fix something. I personally am okay with trying synthetic methods to wipe something serious out and then I go back to organic after.

  7. I have brown patch disease. I kept thinking it needed water so I did not treat the patches right away. Now I have applied Bayer fungus control. Directions say apply again in 2 weeks. Does that sound right? I live in Texas and during the hot months I was watering 4 times a week. Is that too much?

  8. Jack McElroy

    I used to have one of the best lawns in my neighborhood but in the last 2 years my lawn is about 50% bare in the front yard.At first there were dead grass spots and then those went totally bare. I have centipede grass and have lived in southeast North Carolina for 2 years. There is a lot of shade where the grass is. Scott’s told me the lawn has brown (large) patch disease. I stopped their service a year ago because I thought they were over fertilizing…about 6 years a year. I have a county extension service employee coming out in a couple weeks to look at my lawn and do a soil sample? Any suggestions? Install a new lawn? Zoysia, St. Augustine?

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