Brown Patch

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by ncturfgirl, Jun 11, 2005.

  1. ncturfgirl

    ncturfgirl LawnSite Member
    from nc
    Posts: 11

    Just wondering if anyone else is constantly fighting this problem. It seems year after year no matter what we do brown patch gets us but only in certain yards. We have tried different approaches and it seems we're always having to treat it year after year. Open to any suggestions. We have tried everything from adjusting nitro to no nitro and adjusting watering to no avail.

    :help: :blob4:
  2. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    Welcome to to LS!

    As you know brown Patch is a fungus and it is almost always caused from watering too late in the day esp during the hot months. Adjusting the watering time to mid-day to no later that 2-3PM should take care of it.

    Below is info on Brown Patch. Even if it is not it may help you in the future.

    Problem: Brown Patch - Rhizoctonia solani

    Hosts: Affects many turfgrasses but most severe on tall fescue, perennial ryegrass and creeping bentgrass.

    Description: Brown patch normally occurs in midsummer and results in the formation of unsightly patches of blighted turf. The fungal disease is capable of killing tall fescue during extended periods of hot, humid weather.

    On some lawns, the disease may appear as roughly circular patches of blighted turf that range in size from a few inches to several feet in diameter. Turf in patches initially develops a dark purple-green color similar to that associated with drought stress. The damaged turf quickly fades to light tan or brown. Patches may coalesce to blight large sections of the turf. A more common symptom on the newer tall fescue varieties is a uniform blighting without formation of distinct, circular patches. Diseased lawns exhibit a droughty or wilted appearance even though sufficient soil moisture is present.

    Symptoms on individual plants are also helpful for diagnosing brown patch. The brown patch fungus initially attacks the leaves of the turfgrass plant, causing the formation of irregular, water-soaked spots. The spots may be bordered by a dark brown margin. As the disease progresses, the fungus attacks the plant crown and kills the plant.

    Brown patch development can be very rapid; large blighted areas may develop within a 24- to 48-hour period. In light attacks, turf recovers within two to three weeks. When conditions favorable for disease persist, the tall fescue plants may be killed.

    Disease development is favored by nighttime temperatures above 70 F and by a high relative humidity and/or a thin film of moisture on the leaf surface. Those tall fescue lawns under high management, especially high nitrogen fertilization, are more susceptible to severe damage from brown patch. In most cases, the fungus attacks only the leaves, but during severe disease pressure, the crowns or roots may also be killed.

    Recommendations: None of the tall fescue cultivars have good resistance to brown patch. The old Kentucky 31 cultivar is less susceptible but does not possess many of the desirable horticultural characteristics of the new varieties. Also, KY-31 sold in Kansas is commonly contaminated with orchardgrass and is not strongly recommended for home lawns. Tall fescue varieties that have shown less damage from brown patch include Adventure, Arid, Falcon, Finelawn I, Jaguar, Olympic and Trident.

    Brown patch occurs less frequently when the available nitrogen supply is adequate or low and phosphorus and potassium levels are adequate. Do not overfertilize and apply a majority of the nitrogen fertilizer in the fall. Applications of more than 4 lb of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet per year will predispose the turfgrass to increased brown patch activity. This is true even if the majority of the fertilizer is applied in spring and fall when the disease is not active. Never apply nitrogen fertilizer when brown patch is active. However, a light fertilization after a brown patch epidemic may speed turfgrass recovery.

    Do not irrigate lawns in late afternoon or evenings if possible. This extends the number of hours the leaves remain wet and increases the likelihood of brown patch development. Irrigation after midnight to mid-morning is preferable. These are the hours the turf would normally be wet from dew, and irrigation at this time does not extend leaf wetness periods.

    Brown patch can be suppressed by fungicide applications. Preventive applications of Prostar (commercial use), Bayleton, and to some extent chlorothalonil (Daconil, Thalonil, others), do a fairly good job of suppressing the disease when applied at monthly intervals (June, July, August). Curative applications of chlorothalonil beginning a few days after symptoms of brown patch develop (late July and August) also may do an adequate job of suppressing further injury. These fungicide treatments are helpful on highly managed lawns, but they are expensive. In many cases, lawns damaged by brown patch will recover in two to three weeks, provided that the outbreak is not sustained by continuous hot, humid weather. Therefore, treatments may not be necessary to maintain the turf stand through the growing season.


    1. Brown Patch, K-State Research and Extension Plant Pathology Fact Sheet.
  3. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,619

    I have a customer who has bluegrass and tall fescue. It hits his yard every year in the fescue area. I put down fertilizer/weed control for him during the year but since fungus control is so expensive he bypasses the fungus control. I don't think it matters when he waters.

    KC area is always humid in late Spring/Summer so I think the conditions here will always be a problem for fungus.
  4. ncturfgirl

    ncturfgirl LawnSite Member
    from nc
    Posts: 11

    The watering is done at about 5:00 am everyother day so as you can see I have tried everything. Has anyone had any luck with the preventative measures
  5. ncturfgirl

    ncturfgirl LawnSite Member
    from nc
    Posts: 11

    Go Carolina!!!!
    I see you in GSO are you seeing it there? Thanks for the info on brown patch. Found alot of information on line and in books but you provided some info I did not have, but if you notice some information if conflicting it states do preventative in June but it seems we need to do it earlier since in the past week it has just jumped on my properties. I am afraid if I don't treat it my yard will continue to get worse.
  6. khutch

    khutch LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 495

    How are you guys pricing Brown Patch treatments?
  7. ncturfgirl

    ncturfgirl LawnSite Member
    from nc
    Posts: 11

    It depends on what fungicide you are applying and what method.
  8. Gladestraveller

    Gladestraveller LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Sysstar is $10.80/ M to eradicate....... M ight want to plan to Dethatch lawn..... because if your incidence is high it will devistate the lawn in the thatch layer.
  9. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Posts: 784

    How does dethatching a lawn help with brown patch? i have never heard of doing so
  10. sildoc

    sildoc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,925

    Year after year of brown patch in areas of the lawn will cause an excessive thatch layer. thus a build up in thatch will cause turf grass to thin out and not be as healthy. thus if you have brown patch in particular areas year after year dethatching will help with the overall health of the turf grass. I would try overseeding with a cultivar that is more resistant to brown patch after dethatching.

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