What is Brown Patch Disease?
This is a disease that shows up in St. Augustine/Zoysia grass from late August up until spring (give or take a week or two). It is a disease in the soil. In that area, it’s like cancer in the soil. It forms a brown circle or a ring, sometimes it looks like crop circles, can be disfigured also. Nothing can stop it from coming up, or get rid of it, or make it smaller, it is incurable. Yes, it will come up in your lawn every fall and run until spring. Eight to ten St. Augustine lawns, will have this disease (it is very common). Cooler soil temperatures in the fall and winter makes the disease come out of its dormant state, spreading and scarring the lawn in the mean time. In the spring the disease will go dormant and areas will recover 100 percent. As temperatures in the spring go up a long with temperatures outside this will cause the disease to go dormant, being it doesn’t like hot soil temperatures. Inside the brown patch areas the grass will turn brown and look like it’s dying but it’s not, it is temporarily bruising the lawn. The disease will weaken those areas, turning them brown, and you may get a little top growth but not to be alarmed, it will recover. You can rake areas if you choose, it will not hurt the lawn, but don’t take clippings out of area and transfer clippings to other parts of the lawn because you can be spreading the disease. The following spring, those area’s may be slower to recover than others due to the stress from the disease. At times you can see a golden yellow ring will be around the brown patch circle this means the disease is very active, and spreading.
How do I get Brown Patch Disease?
There a number of ways of getting Brown Patch Disease, soil moving from one lawn to another, mowing services, lawn care services, also walking over the disease and transferring it to another lawn. Brown Patch Disease being a soil disease it is fueled by cooler soil temperatures and a lot of moisture. These two combined, triggers the disease to come out of dormancy. The disease does not like hot soil temperatures or weather this is why it goes dormant during the spring and summer. It is a fall and winter disease, going dormant coming spring. The roots of the grass will stay intact, rooted into the soil if it is Brown Patch Disease. A little dead top growth will come out of spots if raked out, unlike Grub Worms roots are cut in half and grass will pull up with no root connection into the soil, very easily. I have heard of people taking dirt out of areas and putting new dirt and new sod, and brown patch not showing up again and I have also heard that it has shown up again after replacing the dirt and sod so there is a 50/50 chance that it will work for you.
What to do to treat Brown Patch?
Fungicide is a product that will slow brown patch disease from spreading and scarring the lawn so bad. It will not stop it from coming up, or get rid of it, or make the spot smaller, it just slows it down from growing. Watering your lawn properly during brown patch season, can help you also minimize the spreading and scarring of the disease. If you are over-watering this time of year, you’re making the disease worse (you are feeding the fire). You cannot help mother nature but you can control how you are watering.
How to water during Brown Patch season up until spring?
Water from late August to spring just when you feel it needs it (not saying stop watering all year and let the lawn die). Twenty minutes per zone or area when you do water, make sure to water deep so you don’t have to water so often. Water mornings only, especially during this time of year. As temperature’s get cooler/colder during the fall and winter, the soil temperature gets colder and the water doesn’t evaporate as quick as it does in the spring and summer because the temperatures are much higher.
Brown Patch Disease, Grub Worms and Sod Webworms can all three be active at the same time of year. Understanding Brown Patch Disease, knowing when it starts, recognizing the signs, and taking the proper actions can save your lawn a lot of stress and a quicker recovery.