A thick green lawn is the envy of all. But, there are many diseases that keep a lawn from looking its best, and brown patch is one of the most common. The disease spreads fast, damaging ryegrass, tall fescue, bluegrass and other turf grasses.
Caused by a fungus that overwinters, it’s most active when the weather is warm and humid. It may show up suddenly as patches of brown, dead grass surrounded by dark rings. Sometimes grass grows back in the middle of the patches in a “donut” effect.
Although some grass varieties are more susceptible to the disease than others, good lawn care practices can help control or even prevent it.
Protect Your Lawn From Brown Patch:
- Water early in the day so grass has time to dry. The fungus that causes this disease thrives in moist, shady conditions.
- Mow your lawn regularly, at the height recommended for the kind of grass you’re growing, and keep the blade sharp. Only remove one-third of the grass height at a time. Cutting more than one-third stresses grass out.
- Use a rain gauge, and ensure your lawn gets at least 1 inch of water per week. Too little water can stress the grass and encourage brown patch.
- Aerate and dethatch your lawn regularly.
- Use a fertilizer formulated for your grass type and follow the directions. Avoid fast-release nitrogen, which promotes new growth that is vulnerable to attack.
- Bag or rake grass clippings. Dump them away from the lawn or compost.
- Prune nearby trees and shrubs to increase sunlight and air circulation in severe cases of brown patch.
- Apply a fungicide to help prevent or control the spread of brown patch. Fungicides are most effective when applied before the first signs of the disease appear.