Every summer, your lawn is at risk for fungal diseases. Do you know what to look for and what to do if you have one?
In this article, you’ll learn how to detect brown patch in your lawn; plus, tips for getting rid of it.
Most lawn diseases are fungal in nature and are caused by humid conditions, over-fertilizing and over-watering. Shady areas and poor yard drainage are two other causes for brown patch too.
Indeed, these fungal diseases may not be caused by your overuse of fertilizers but may get worse if you keep using fertilizer on your infected lawn.
Brown patch is a fungal disease that affects only fescue grass lawns—a cool season grass that thrives in cooler temperatures. You’ll notice brown patch when there are brown rings or spots on your lawn that measures from 5” – 10’ in diameter.
When you look closely at the grass blades, you’ll notice dark brown or yellow spots on the individual leaves. These grass blades will eventually die, and the fungi will repeat itself on new leaves.
Brown patch develops and spreads when humid days are over 80°F and when muggy nights are over 60°F.
Unless you employ some lawn management practices, brown patch will continue to spread throughout your lawn. Here are eight maintenance tips to get brown patch under control:
- Adjust your fertilizer: When a lawn disease presents itself in your GA lawn, you need to cut back on how much nitrogen-based fertilizer you use because nitrogen feeds the disease. Likewise, for lawns with brown patch, there should be more phosphorous and potassium included in your fertilizer blend. When you consult with a professional lawn service, you know that your lawn is getting the right amount of each essential nutrient.
- Adjust your mower height: Raise your mower height to only take the top third off of your lawn grass. When you mow too low, you’ll spread the disease to new grass leaves.
- Improve your lawn’s air circulation: Core aeration is the best way to improve the air flow around your lawn. Your lawn care technician uses an aerator to pull small plugs of soil out of your lawn to allow more air and sunlight to read the entire grass plants. These little plugs will disappear as soon you water your lawn or the next time it rains.
Also, if you have a lot of trees and shrubs covering your fescue lawn, you need to trim them back to improve air flow and to allow more sunlight to filter in to stop brown patch in its tracks.
- Use smart irrigation techniques: Your lawn only needs 1”- 1 ½” of water per week—whether that comes from rain or through your sprinkler system. Ideally, you should only water in the early morning hours before the day gets hot and sticky. Set your irrigation to turn on between 4 a.m. – 9 a.m. You can measure how much water your lawn is getting from your sprinkler system by placing coffee cans throughout your property. You need to put those coffee cans because your irrigation system may not evenly deliver water throughout your entire lawn. Some areas may get too much water—leading to fungal diseases, and other areas may not get enough. When you see that you got a 1” – 1 ½” spread throughout your lawn, make sure that you set your irrigation timer to go on at the same time each week.
- Improve water drainage: If you have areas on your property where water won’t absorb into the ground, it may be time to excavate, add a dry river bed, a French drain or a downspout extension to move standing water off of your lawn and back into the ground.
- If needed, apply lime: Ask your GA lawn service to take soil samples to test for pH levels. If the results indicate your soil’s pH is less than 6.5, your lawn technician may apply lime to “sweeten” the soil to fight back against brown
- Remove the dew: Moisture feeds brown patch, and one of the practical ways to get water off of your lawn is removing morning dew. You can run your hose or your mower across your lawn to wipe off excess moisture.
- Use fungicides: Once you applied the above practices, and you still can’t control brown patch on your lawn, it’s time to hire your local lawn care company to apply fungicides to your lawn. While you can buy fungicide at your favorite big box store, you won’t get the professional strength needed to remove the fungus from your lawn grass.
For Georgia fescue lawns, brown patch is a regular part of summer with our hot, humid days and our humid nights. You don’t have to watch brown patch destroy your lawn, though. Instead, use the above techniques to conquer the disease.
If you think your lawn has brown patch, call us at Agropro today at 678-445-9990 or fill out our contact form.
Martinez, Alfredo, Mila Pearce and Lee Burpee, “Turfgrass diseases in Georgia: Identification and Control,” University of Georgia: Extension.
Agropro Lawn Care Service~ Agropro provides Lawn Care and Plant Health Care services to these areas in North Georgia: Alpharetta, Atlanta, Buckhead, Canton, Cumming, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Marietta, Milton, Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Woodstock.