Nothing is more worrisome than discovering that your lush lawn is suddenly dead and dry! But what if these seemingly “dead” patches are not dead after all?

Early summer is the peak time for many types of fungi to flourish in your yard. Even if you are consistent in your watering, mowing, and other lawn care practices, a case of Brown Patch Disease may be unavoidable. The good news, however, is that this fungal disease doesn’t kill your grass immediately. It merely gives the appearance that your turf is far gone.

So, is this disease treatable? Absolutely!

First, it is best to confirm that these brown spots are Brown Patch and understand why it is appearing in your lawn before telling a lawn care specialist near you to bring in the big guns (and by that, we mean fungicides).

What is Brown Patch Disease?

This unsightly damage to your lawn is caused by a fungus known as Rhizoctonia solani. Curiously, its activity in your lawn is as unpleasant as its name.

When this fungus wants to inhabit your lawn, it penetrates the foliage of your turf where there is a lot of moisture present. From there, it spreads from plant to plant and creates an odd appearance on the surface.

New Englanders are especially likely to encounter this fungus because it mostly affects cool-season grasses such as tall fescue and bentgrasses. If you’re noticing similar deadened areas of your lawn similar to Brown Patch, it’s a good idea to check up on the type of grass you own.

What are the symptoms of Brown Patch Disease?

Photo: S. Tirpak, Rutgers

The most obvious sign that Brown Patch is attacking your lawn is the circular and irregular grass patches that appear. While they may look dead or burned, these reddish-brown areas have a lot more symptoms to uncover.

Oftentimes, these circles of damaged turf are outlined with a darker, char-colored or purple ring. This is where the fungi are most active and is a key indicator that Rhizoctonia is to blame!

When the grass does die from this disease, it will look more wilted around this ashy ring. At this point, the grass inside of the Brown Patch circle may still be recoverable.

Why is Brown Patch Disease showing up now?

Brown patch is infamous for flourishing from mid to late summer because the fungus thrives in both hot and humid weather. Has your location been receiving abnormally tropical conditions? This is another factor to consider when identifying the disease.

August is a time where the fungus is especially active because it is the hottest month of the year. Still, Brown Patch can be present as early as the beginning of spring.

How do you treat Brown Patch Disease?

While it is nearly impossible to completely get rid of the dormant fungi that are deep in your lawn, active attacks on the grass foliage are easy to subdue. While store-bought fungicides are less reliable, they may be able to treat small cases of Brown Patch. For more serious cases, a certified lawn care specialist may carry more effective fungicides.

Treating Brown Patch is also just as important as preventing it from appearing again. Here are some ways to prevent fungicide in the future:

  1. Overseed with a disease-resistant seed: The best way to prevent Brown Patch in your lawn is to ensure that you have a disease-resistant grass type. We highly recommend our Thermal Blue Heat tolerant grass seed. Not only does it combat Brown Patch well, but it is durable in both heat and drought.
  2. Apply a preventative fungicide: If the weather is going to be exceptionally wet, prepare your lawn for these conditions with a preventative fungicide. This way, all of the ready-to-pop fungi, including Brown Patch, won’t get a chance in a heavy rainfall.
  3. Aerate your lawn: Aerating your lawn every fall has many benefits including preventing fungal diseases. When we remove cores of soil within your lawn, it improves your soil’s drainage and allows your turf to deeply breathe in oxygen, resulting in a stronger lawn.

Just like eating healthy and staying active is prevention from a common cold, efficient lawn care practices and adequate nourishment for your turf is prevention from Brown Patch Disease.

Ready to give your lawn the Brown Patch prevention that it needs? Email or call (413) 998-7829 to learn more about our overseeding and core aeration services.