A lush, green lawn helps add beauty and value to your home. However, unsightly brown grass can develop, making your lawn an eyesore. This could be the result of dead grass or it could be the result of a fungal infection that commonly is referred to as brown patch lawn disease.
What is brown patch lawn disease?
Caused by the Rhizoctonia solani fungus, brown patch lawn disease can spread quickly and infect a wide range of common turf grasses. The most vulnerable species include perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and certain types of bent grasses. Kentucky bluegrass also can be susceptible—especially during hot, humid weather.
Brown patch lawn disease thrives in areas where the summer weather is typified by hot temperatures and high humidity. It is most common in the eastern and southern United States; it is less common in the Mountain States of the West or the Pacific coast—where humidity usually is lower. The fungus that causes brown patch lawn disease can take hold when temperatures are well below 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but the disease does not start to spread and become visible until temperatures rise. When it is hot outside, any dew, mist or rain on the blades of the leaves of grass can contribute to the spread of brown patch disease, which can be rapid.
Know the signs of brown patch lawn disease
Both homeowners and business owners with grass on their property should be aware of the signs of brown patch lawn disease. Common visible symptoms include spotting on grass leaf blades, which may turn the entire leaf brown; and circular areas of brown or dead grass, which may be surrounded by a narrow, darker ring. These patches can be irregularly sized, and also can become quite large.
Closely mown grass that is infected by brown patch disease will show circular rings of brown patches, with an expanding grayish ring on the outer edge. Grass that is cut to higher lengths also will have the same circular areas of brown but without the gray exterior. In tall fescue grass, the brown patches appear on scattered blades, making an entire lawn appear to be discolored rather than its normal, vibrant, healthy shade of green.
There are several ways to prevent or treat, brown patch disease
As always with any problem, prevention is the best defense. Prevent the development of brown patches by following proper watering protocols to prevent wet grass at night. Also, follow a proper mowing schedule, which stimulates air movement around the grass leaf blades and will dry them of excess moisture. Also, avoid over-fertilizing or under-fertilizing.
The Penn State College of Agricultural Science recommends removing dew or gutter water that gathers on the grass, either by mowing or dragging a water hose across the area.
If brown patch disease does develop in your grass, possible treatment methods may include using moderate amounts of nitrogenous fertilizer. You also can use a fungicide, but only if it is applied before the onset of disease—but this may be difficult if there are no visible signs of the disease, and it only is viable on certain species of grass such as bent-grass turf or high-value ryegrass.
Lawn Maintenance in the Tri-Cities
Professional landscapers in Kingsport like those on staff at Promier Landscapes can identify diseases such as brown patch disease, and know how to treat them. If you want to have your lawn evaluated, contact us at (423) 246-7977 to schedule an on-site consultation.
Promier Landscapes serves residential and commercial clients in the areas of Kingsport, Johnson City, and Bristol in Tennessee.