How To Beat Fungus This Season

Any beautiful lawn can be quickly destroyed by harsh diseases that exist in the landscape industry.  One very serious fungal disease is Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia).  Brown Patch usually develops rapidly when temperatures are warm and humid (70-90 degrees), especially during warmer periods of the Fall and Winter months.



St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Zoysia grasses are most commonly affected by Brown Patch. The disease usually causes thinned patches of light brown grass that are roughly circular in shape.  These areas range in diameter from a few inches to several feet.  Often, the center of the patch will recover, resulting in a doughnut-shaped pattern.  Close inspection of the grass blade will reveal small, irregular, tan leaf spots (burnt cigarette appearance) with dark-brown borders in combination of rotted leaf sheaths near the soil surface.

The best way to prevent Brown Patch is by following good lawn care practices. 

1.  Avoid high nitrogen rates on warm season grasses in late fall.

2.  Irrigate grass only when needed and do it early in the morning.

3.  Remove clippings if the weather is warm and moist to prevent the spread of the disease to other areas during mowing.

4.  Keep lawns mowed on a regular basis to the proper height for the grass species in the lawn.

5.  Provide good drainage for surface and subsurface areas.

Fungicides can be difficult to rely upon for controlling brown patch in the home lawn, but regular applications can vastly improve appearance.  A good rule of thumb to follow on warm-season grasses is to initiate fungicide sprays when night time low temperatures reach 70 degrees F.  Stop applications when night time lows are forecast to be below 70 degrees F for five consecutive days.  Typically, applications are made at 14 day intervals.

We highly recommend Anderson's Prophesy .72% Fungicide on DG PRO™!  This product is a systemic fungicide, with an easy spread formula, that is used on turfgrasses for the control and suppression of broad spectrum and systemic diseases.  This product can be used in a preventative disease control program.  Click here for more information about this product.


Eric Readinger