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Brown Patch Disease on Your Lawn

Brown Lawn Got You Down?

Brown Patch Disease on Lawn

A brown lawn may be the one thing standing between you and a summer full of fun. Since the beauty of a lawn is largely dependent on its healthy, green hue, anything other color tends to stand out like a sore thumb. Brown spots or patches can be an ongoing source of frustration for homeowners seeking a lush, uniform landscape. Don’t let those ugly, straw-colored patches get you down. Fight back against turf diseases and reclaim the healthy, green lawn you deserve!


Rhizoctonia Blight – commonly known as Brown Patch – is a hot weather turf disease caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani. While it can occur on all types of turf, it is most damaging to tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass.


Symptoms of Brown Patch

As its name suggests, Brown Patch presents itself on the lawn in the form of circular, brown patches.  These can range in size from a few inches to several feet in diameter. In the early morning dew, strands of a cobwebby fungal growth called mycelium may be evident on the grass blades. The affected grass will discolor and, in severe cases, may die.


Causes of Brown Patch

Brown spots shouldn’t ruin your chance at having the lawn you want. In order to identify what’s at play on your turf and figure out the best plan of attack for treating any discolored areas on the lawn, you must first pinpoint what could be causing the issue. Take a look at the top three culprits behind brown spots below:


1. Turf Disease

There is a long list of turf diseases that can turn an otherwise green lawn off color. These diseases are caused by fungi that live in the thatch and soil, often activated by high moisture, humidity, or mowing the lawn when it is wet. Brown patch, dollar spot, leaf blight, and necrotic ring can all cause areas of the lawn to turn brown. Although these diseases may sound serious, the majority will disappear on their own with improved environmental conditions. In some cases, an application of fungicide may be required. If you aren’t sure if turf disease is affecting your lawn, it’s best to contact your Weed Man team for verification. We will provide you with a proper diagnosis and advise you on next steps.

2. Shade

A lack of sunlight can be extremely detrimental to the health and vitality of your lawn. Grass plants require a significant amount of sunlight to thrive; in fact, most species of turfgrass require four to six hours of full sun each day. When adequate amounts are not received, lawns respond by drastically thinning out and losing their rich, green color. If you’ve noticed brown spots in areas of your lawn that receive little to no sunlight, you may need to do some heavy pruning to allow more filtered light to shine through. Even a slight increase can make a difference.

3. Insect Damage

Unfortunately, there are many destructive insects that love feasting on grass plants. Chinch bugs, for example, can do a number on your turf in a matter of days. If you’ve seen rapid discoloration occur on areas of your lawn, try giving the grass a good soak. If there is no improvement after watering, you may have an insect problem on your hands. As always, it is best to contact your local Weed Man for a proper diagnosis. We are happy to come out and provide you with a lawn analysis, free of charge.


Prevention and Control Tips

The best defense against Brown Patch and other turfgrass diseases is a healthy, hardy lawn. Weed Man’s granular, slow-release fertilizer applied at the right time will strengthen your lawn and help it fight off common stressors. Core aeration will also help. Aeration improves soil drainage, relieves compaction, and reduces thatch (where the fungus lies dormant in the winter months).  


If brown patch is already present on your lawn, try the following techniques:


  • Withhold water from affected areas until the soil dries. Then, practice deep, infrequent watering rather than frequent short periods of watering.

  • Water in the mornings ONLY. This will allow the grass and soil to dry before the sun goes down.

  • Mow frequently at the highest setting.

  • Mow with a razor-sharp blade.


Brown patch can also be controlled with the application of fungicide. To ensure continuous control, fungicides must be applied every 21 to 28 days (May through September). Your local Weed Man professional can help you create a disease control program that is right for your lawn.


Don’t let your brown lawn make you blue this summer. Effective disease management and the lush, healthy lawn that comes with it are only a phone call away.


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