Brown patch is a turf disease caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani which can be found in and around Bloomington. In warm-season turfgrass, brown patch can be active from spring through fall but it causes most damage in the summer, especially to fescue grass.
Brown patch attacks grass during periods of high humidity and moderately high temperatures. The organism is present year-round, but it becomes most active when daytime temperatures reach more than 80 degrees and overnight temperatures remain above 60 degrees. These temperatures, combined with high moisture content and extended periods of rain or overcast skies, favor the occurrence of brown patch disease.
SYMPTOMS: Brown patch usually damages grass in a circular pattern a few inches to several feet in diameter. Normally, the affected grass will turn brown and in severe cases may die.
TREATMENT: Withhold water from affected areas until the soil dries. Then, practice infrequent deep watering rather than frequent short periods of watering as this may keep the grass wet for too long. Water only in the morning so the grass and soil can dry before the sun goes down.
Do not water in the evening or at night as this will encourage dew formation on the leaf blades, which may stimulate disease activity. Mow frequently, set the blade at the highest setting, and be sure the blade is sharp. After mowing 3-4 times the brown discoloration will be mowed away and green grass will begin to reappear.
Brown patch can be controlled with the application of fungicide. To ensure continuous control, fungicides must be applied every 21 to 28 days (May through September). Weed Man cannot guarantee 100 percent control, but we have been very successful with this approach in controlling the disease.
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