If you look out the window, you may see 7 giant, doughnut-shaped patches of brown grass appearing in your lawn.
That’s what happened to my 80 year old neighbor last summer. This man loves his lawn. Every day he is out there watering it, mowing it, trimming, and fertilizing.
Overnight, a mysterious fungus destroyed 35% of his lawn.
Don’t let it happen to you.
It is a disease called “Brown Patch,” or Rhizoctonia solani. All of the types of grass in your average lawn are susceptible to it. It is one of the most damaging lawn diseases you’ll ever experience.
The bad news: There is no way to keep Rhizoctonia solani from growing in your lawn. It can come from many different places, and chances are it may be growing in your grass already, at least in small amounts.
The good news: Although you may have Rhizoctonia solani in your lawn right now, it only develops into the deadly brown patch disease under certain conditions.
Unfortunately, you are probably creating these conditions in your lawn right now.
The average homeowner’s lawn care methods create a breeding ground for this fungus.
- One of the biggest lawn care mistakes is over fertilizing. Most fertilizers create high nitrogen levels, which make the grass leaves soft and lush. Brown patch can easily attack these sorts of grass leaves. Applications of more than 4 lb of nitrogen fertilizer per 1000 square feet per year will make your grass susceptible to increased brown patch activity. Also, avoid applying large amounts of fertilizer in the fall or late winter. Certain kinds of fertilizer actually release nitrogen slowly, and can help avoid Brown Patch.
- Do not overwater your lawn (the lawn should not be constantly wet), and do not water your lawn at night or in the afternoon! (It is extremely common for people to water their lawn when they get home from work) Rather, water your grass in the early morning so the water can evaporate under the daytime sun, keeping the grass well watered, but not damp for hours.
- Prune trees and shrubs to reduce shade and allow air movement and sun penetration. This will help reduce the hours when the grass sits damp and warm.
- Do not overseed the lawn either. Most homeowners like their grass to be extremely thick, but seeding rates greater than 6 to 8 lb per 1000 square feet for new lawns makes it much easier for the fungus to move from leaf to leaf. Thickly growing grass also increases humidity and wetness periods that invite Brown Patch to grow wildly.
- Apply fungicides, with our guidance. There are a number of fungicides that combat Brown Patch. We recommend having a lawn care professional do the application of fungicide.