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Controlling & Preventing Brown Patch

Beat this summer nuisance with these simple tips

An infestation of Rhizoctonia solani (more commonly known as Brown Patch) begins when nights are warm, winds are calm and the air is humid. It's a disease most active between mid-June and August.

Brown Patch causes "lesions" on grass blades. The lesions are irregular-shaped, and light tan, with darker borders. As the disease develops, lesions may cover the entire blade and cause large, matted down patches of grass. On closely mown turf, these patches may appear as a distinct "smoke ring" of dark gray surrounding the infected areas.

Following good cultural habits is a critical step in both controlling and preventing Brown Patch. Here are some tips:

  • Water properly - Excessive moisture contributes to spreading Brown Patch. If a lawn needs water, try to water in the early morning hours when possible. Water infrequently but deeply to encourage strong root growth.
  • Mow grass at the proper height - Keeping the lawn mowed high strengthens the turf, which reduces the chance of the disease spreading.
  • Mow with a sharp blade - Cutting with a dull blade creates jagged edges and allows fungi to enter the plant.
  • Core aerate and seed annually – Annual fall aeration will help to increase air circulation. Proper air flow will help prevent the disease from occurring. Seeding will introduce newer, disease-resistant grasses to the yard and help the turf fight off future attacks.

Even with the best cultural habits, there may be times when additional measures are needed.

Additional Recommendations

  1. Apply Natural Alternative® Protilizer® with beneficial soil microbes to help inoculate roots and outpace the fungus pathogens causing the Brown Patch infestation. A monthly application through frost is recommended.
  2. When seeding, use a grass seed blend containing varieties shown to be resistant to Brown Patch. We recommend Iron Man Grass Seed Blend with 70% tall fescue, 20% ryegrass and 10% bluegrass.
  3. We recommend seeding at the rate of 4 lbs. per 1,000 square feet.
Brown Patch
How to aerate and seed lawn
Grass mowing height