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Grass Dying in one spot only

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Tn Lawn Man, May 5, 2005.

  1. Tn Lawn Man

    Tn Lawn Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

    Sorry, I will try to get a pic.

    I have a customer that I just picked up this year. He has an all fescue lawn. I did a pre-m and a post-m application so far this year. About 3 weeks after the post-m app a spot that is about 2' X 4' turns completely brown and dies.

    At first I thought that he may have put something down and not told me but when I asked him about it he said that it is a strange thing. He has had the house for about 5 years now and every spring the grass will turn green and begin to grow just fine. But, towards the end of spring it just dies in that same area every year. The rest of the lawn is great.

    He further said that he has put fert down before some years and then other years nothing to see if it is something that is being applied (fert, weed control etc...) and he still gets the same results.

    I looked for chem spills, broken gas lines anything....but could not come up with anything.

    There are no rings or discoloration to indicate disease, it just dies in the same spot every spring.

  2. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    Sounds like Brown Spot maybe. ALso does he water on a daily basis? If so what time of day?
  3. Tn Lawn Man

    Tn Lawn Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

    Waters in the morning only...and only if it needs it. Been getting a lot of rain lately so it has not needed it.

    How do you treat brown spot?
  4. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 963

    Dig down a couple of inches and see what you find.
  5. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Posts: 1,237

    I'll second that. I have a similar issue and it turned out to be a white grub. Time to get down and dirty on this one.

    I saw something once where a guy put a can (with no ends I think) and pushes it into the soil (take a the turf out I think) and then fills it with water and watches what floats to the top. I think yo can the same thing by just breaking some of the dirt up to see what's in side.
    Also take a good wiff and see what ya smell. (No, I didn't have you pull my finger :p )
  6. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    I dont think the digdown a couple of inches comment was refering to grubs. Probably meant to see if anything is buried in the ground at that spot. I know where my septic tank is in my lawn because every year the grass dies on top of it. I dug down and the tank lid was only a couple of inches below the surface.

    To test for grubs you can cut the bottom out of a coffee can and push into the ground enough to make sure the water doesnt just run out from under it but will soak into the ground. Mix a little dish detergent in water and fill can. Wait a few minutes and the grubs will come to the soil surface because the soap irritates their skin. This also works great for army worms.
  7. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    I'd almost bet that it is not grubs.
  8. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    For sure dig down and see if you find anything. But you said that you put down a Pre-Em and a Post-Em pretty close together so depending on what you used you may have also gotten down too much nitrogen which will cause BP. The reason I ask about the watering and time of such is because normally improper watering is what causes Brown Patch as it is a fungus. I have a client that last year I started seeing brown patches in his normally lush green lawn. He has a system so I ask when he was watering and he said at 7PM each evening! I told him to change that to 7AM because by watering at night he was setting up the lawn for fungus because it would hold the water to long. He cahnged it and it went away quickly with no other treatment.

    Below is inof 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.
  9. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Me too!! I almost bet it aint brownpatch either. Not in the same place and the same size every year.
  10. southernsprayguy

    southernsprayguy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    Is he pissing in the same spot every morning when he waters his lawn?

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