Brown Patch – Why Does My Lawn Get It?

What does my lawn get Brown Patch? This is the common question posed by homeowners every Fall. It is important to understand the “disease triangle”.  There must be three things in place for disease activity to affect your turf:

  1. The Host Plant
  2. The Pathogen (which is always present in the soil and is waiting for the right conditions)
  3. Environmental Conditions

Since the host plant is in place, your turf, and the pathogen is always in the soil. So, the thing to watch for are the environmental conditions. In the Fall, when we see humid, overcast skies combined with temperatures in the range of 75 to 85 degrees, the disease triangle is now complete. Next, you will begin to see visual activity in your lawn. Other items that help promote disease activity are low spots in the turf, evening watering, and mowing stress.

Does Brown Patch disease kill my grass?

The good news is, no. Brown patch mainly affects the grass blades and not the root system. It will recover the following Spring when the turf starts growing again. Once a scar appears in the Fall, it will most likely be present throughout the Fall.

What can I do to keep Brown Patch from spreading?

There are two ways to address this, and the biggest one is correcting cultural practices in advance of the above mentioned environmental conditions. This means improving surface drainage by filling in low spots with soil and an annual core aeration. Also, water in the morning to avoid leaving excess moisture on the lawn overnight and keep your mower blade sharp. The second way is to look at the application of a disease control product to help bridge the gap when we reach those environmental conditions. This is best done proactively in late August to early September.

These are all things you as a homeowner can do yourself, but if you find this to be a bit much to manage, Elements Lawn Care can help with advanced planning and education along with properly timed disease treatments.