Brown Patch on Tall Fescue

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As summer weather sets, we are experiencing warmer nights and more humidity. These
conditions extend the amount of time grass blades stay wet making the lawn more
susceptible to the disease, brown patch.

Brown patch is primarily a leaf pathogen, but with a severe
outbreak, the fungus can spread down into the crown and
cause plant death. However, depending on the weather,
typically the turfgrass recovers within two to three weeks.

Symptoms can be similar to those of drought, but look closer
at the grass plants around the edge of the symptomatic
area. If you notice tan spots with a dark halo similar to the
photo here you likely have brown patch.

Brown patch persists in the soil. It cannot be eliminated from a lawn, but is also not
carried from one lawn to another. You can, however, provide proper care to reduce your
lawn’s susceptibility to brown patch.

• Water in the early morning rather than the
evening and only as needed. This decreases the
number of hours the grass blades stay wet.

• Fertilize according to recommendations for your
lawn. Don’t fertilize when brown patch is active.

• When seeding, follow recommended rates.

• Grass growing beneath trees does not dry as
quickly. Use a mulch ring around trees so grass
isn’t growing beneath the canopy.

Fungicides can be effective to prevent brown patch though the most commonly used
products are expensive and typically only available in large quantities. Preventative
fungicides are recommended if you want a blemish-free lawn, beginning in mid-June
through August, but this does get expensive

 

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