Brown Patch disease develops rapidly during warm, humid weather with nighttime temperatures over 70 degrees F. The disease can result in blighting of large areas of turf. It may end up thinning turf if not addressed, but the disease can be controlled with proper care. Symptoms vary, but in some cases, the disease appears as distinct circular patches of blighted turf that range in size from just a few inches to much larger. The Brown Patch fungus initially attacks grass blades, causing the formation of irregular, water-soaked spots. The spots are bordered by dark-brown bands that quickly fade to a light tan color.
Simple Steps for Brown Patch Control
Watering: This disease is favored by long periods of leaf wetness. Do not irrigate in the evening, since this leads to a long, wet period overnight that extends into the dew period in the morning. Irrigation between midnight and 5:00 a.m. is best, and from noon to 4:00 p.m. is second best (or anytime when nighttime temperatures stay below 70 degrees F).
Maintain Soil Moisture: Supplement natural rainfall with watering to maintain adequate soil moisture – enough to accumulate 1″+ in a cup every week, and enough so that a screwdriver will easily penetrate 6″ into the ground everywhere.
Mowing: Brown Patch disease is easily spread by mowing, foot traffic, etc., especially in areas with poor drainage and air movement. Stay off of damp grass, and set blades on the high side (3″ to 4″).
Fungicides: There are several new fungicides available. However, they are expensive, work best as a preventive and are only effective for about a month. If you have had a problem and want the nicest lawn possible, you may want to consider this route.
Other Issues to Be Aware Of
Aphids, spider mites and bagworms are also back again, and like a bad horror movie rerun, they feed on our trees and shrubs every summer. Most damage is easily prevented with a good Tree & Shrub Maintenance Program. White grubs (June bug larvae) will soon start feeding on the roots of lawns too! Heavy insect populations can cause serious damage, so keep an eye out. Every lawn will have a few of these pests. Finding a few grubs in your flower beds or garden is nothing to be alarmed about, but when populations start building up to six grubs per square foot, you may want to get serious. Call us to check or prevent damage. The typical time frame for damage activity is July through September.
Some trees are being hit by the Anthracnose foliar disease, causing irregular brown patches on leaves. In some cases, heavy leaf drop occurs. The good news: This disease is usually not life threatening, and trees will recover. However, it’s important to water deeply once a week during dry periods. Consider Custom Lawn’s Deep-Root Fertilization and Protective Fungicide Applications if leaf drop is severe.
Custom Lawn serves Leawood, KS and all of Johnson County. We are a hometown company based in Olathe. Give us a call and we’ll be glad to check your lawn and landscaping for any issues.