Years ago, scientists took a soil sample from deep below the ice in Antarctica and found something: brown patch.
Brown patch is a fungus causing brown circles in your lawn during the hot humid months of summer. Why did they find it in Antarctica then? Because brown patch can remain dormant for many years. The reason you notice it now is because it has become active, the good news is we can control it!
Comprehensive Guide to Get Rid of Brown Patch in Your Lawn
At NaturaLawn of America, we understand that having brown patches on your lawn can be frustrating, and we are here to help. Our team of lawn care experts has put together a comprehensive guide on how to get rid of brown patches on your lawn, so you can enjoy a lush and healthy lawn all year round.
What Is Brown Patch?
Brown patch (Rhizoctonia solani) is a soil-living fungus which becomes active in humid months where temperatures reach the mid 80’s during the day, and mid to upper 70’s overnight.
Like the name would lead you to believe, brown patch causes a brownish discoloration of your turfgrass. More specifically, it starts out with lesions on the grass blades (shown here).
As brown patch develops, these lesions spread to cover the entire grass blade, causing thinning and matting of the turf. On shorter lawns, these patches may appear to have a "smoke ring" of dark gray around the outer edge. These circular or irregular brown patches can range in size from a few inches to several feet in diameter.
Why Do I Have Brown Patch?
If your lawn is wet going into the evening, the moisture can encourage the growth of the brown patch fungi. In addition, this disease can be more severe in areas which have restricted air movement, such as between houses, fences, or plants.
How to Prevent Brown Patch
As previously stated, this particular turf disease will be most successful if your lawn is wet going into the evening and night. To prevent brown patch water your lawn in the early morning, preferably between 3:00am - 8:00am.
Proper airflow is also crucial to preventing brown patch. As previously stated, brown patch prefers moist areas; so if you increase airflow in troublesome areas, it will help to dry off your turfgrass. Do your best to increase circulation in these areas by removing unnecessary objects or foliage in your backyard. Also, a proper regiment of aeration will help to strengthen your lawn and increase airflow to the root zone.
Proper Mowing Goes a Long Way
The simplest thing to help your grass combat this, and any turf disease, is mowing your lawn properly. We recommend homeowners to:
- Sharpen mower blades: dull blades cause wounds through which disease may spread. Learn more about why sharp mower blades are imporant.
- It is recommended to not mow the lawn when it is wet. Here are some ways to test whether your lawn needs to be watered.
- Mow at the proper height—lawns mowed at the mower’s highest setting stand up to stress better.
Read our top lawn mowing tips.
How to Control Brown Patch
At the point where you need to control an outbreak of brown patch, don’t reach for a control material right away, as we have a few natural alternatives for you to try first.
- Take a rake and fluff your grass where the brown patch has occurred. This will help speed up the drying process, so the brown patch fungi can return to dormancy.
- Or, if an area of your lawn seems beyond repair, remove the affected grass. This prevents the fungus from spreading to other areas of your lawn.
- Aerate your lawn to improve air circulation and reduce moisture levels. This can help prevent the fungus from spreading and promote the growth of healthy grass.
- Apply a top dressing of compost or organic matter to your lawn. This can help improve soil health and promote the growth of healthy grass.
- When fertilizing, use organic fertilizers to provide the right blend of nutrients to prevent disease.
Fight the Good Fight Against Brown Patch Disease
Brown patch fungus can be a challenging problem to deal with, but with the right preventive measures and treatment options, you can restore your lawn to its former glory. Hopefully, brown patch won’t be a huge problem for you this year, but if it is, just remember—with a little patience and some perseverance, you can use these methods to coerce the brown patch fungi back into remission, and keep it there.
For more information on lawn diseases, contact us today!