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Brown Patch Fungus: How To Identify, Prevent, And Treat

A lawn suffering from brown patch fungus damage

Your lawn is the first impression your home makes. That’s why it is so frustrating when patches of brown creep in. While brown patches may look like pockets of dead grass (and they sometimes are), generally the cause is an actual fungus called Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia solani). Here is a little more information about this stubborn and annoying turfgrass disease.

About Brown Patch Fungus

Brown patch is a very common turfgrass disease, found in many warm season turf grasses in the United States. The different species of warm turf grass that it is most likely to affect are Zoysia and St. Augustine. 

  • Symptoms – The fungus that causes Brown Patch is known as a foliar disease, which basically means it does not affect the crown or roots of the grass, just the blades. Circular patches that begin only a foot in diameter become several feet in diameter in a matter of weeks. Blades of the grass can be easily separated from the stolons of the grass, with a rotted appearance at the base of the detached leaves.

Brown patch fungus develops when night-time temperatures are 70 degrees F and below. Common causes of brown patch include cooler night-time temperatures, excessive moisture, poor drainage, soil with high clay content, shade, or mowing on too high of a setting.

How to Prevent Brown Patch Fungus

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. While nothing will for sure prevent brown patch fungus from getting to your lawn, the following tips can reduce the chances.

  • If you have a St. Augustine or Zoysia lawn, make sure to follow the appropriate lawn care tips. Watering should be done deeply and infrequently in the morning hours to prevent fungus growth.
  • Mow the lawn frequently at a moderate height to improve air movement between the blades of grass. This will help evaporate any moisture on the grass, inhibiting the growth of brown patch fungus.
  • Proper fertilization ensures that your grass’ immune system has the nutrients it needs to fight off brown patch fungus.
  • Avoid using too much nitrogen during the fall, especially in a fast release form, as it encourages fungus growth as well.
  • Water early in the morning so that everything evaporates from the grass leaves at night, leaving no water for fungus to grow.
  • Use preventative fungicides in September and October to drastically reduce the chances of brown patch fungus growing. However, directions need to be followed specifically to ensure the health of the grass.

How to Treat Brown Patch Fungus

We highly recommend the use of preventative fungicides, although timing is as critical as the choice in fungicides. If you already have symptoms of Brown Patch, we can still help stop it in its tracks.

So what is the best way to treat brown patch fungus in College Station? Hire the professional lawn care service available from Aggieland Green! We have the knowledge and experience not just to get rid of that pesky brown patch fungus, but also to sculpt your lawn into a beautiful haven your whole neighborhood will enjoy. For more information on our lawn care services, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.