Top 5 Ways to Prevent Brown Patch in Your Cool Season Turfgrass

Dreaming of the perfect lawn but seeing spots?

Brown Patch is the common name for a fungal disease that affects many cool-season grasses in the South such as tall fescue, ryegrass, bluegrass and bentgrass.  Symptoms of brown patch typically appear during periods of high humidity, warmer nighttime temperatures and/or extended periods of rain.

Brown patch is the most common turfgrass disease here in the Southeast, and no turfgrass species is entirely resistant to the fungus that causes it.  But if caught early enough, most cases can be treated and lawns can recover and thrive.  

Living up to its name, the most telling sign that the fungus is present is patches of light brown grass that appear in a circular shape. Brown patch areas can range from a few inches to several feet in diameter.  If left untreated, or if conditions promote rapid growth of the fungus, it may be hard to distinguish the circular shape because the majority of a lawn may be overtaken by brown patches.  Sometimes the center of the patch can recover, and the brown patch can start to look more like a donut than a solid circle.

Worried that your cool season turfgrass may become vulnerable to brown patch?  Here are five quick tips on how to prevent brown patch:

  1. Don’t over water your lawn.  One inch of water per week is a good rule of thumb.
  2. Water early in the morning. Brown patch tends to spread faster when lawns are moist overnight.
  3. Keep your lawn mowed at the proper height for your particular turfgrass type.
  4. Provide good drainage.  This includes preventing soil compaction with core aeration.
  5. Avoid high rates of nitrogen fertilizer in the late spring and summer.

If you need help preventing or treating brown patch – or if you would like a professional assessment of water drainage issues – contact Handy Andy Outdoors today by clicking here or by phone (770) 458-8505.

Image courtesy of NC State University