How to Treat Brown Patch Fungus for a Healthy Lawn in 2023

A lush, green lawn is the pride of every homeowner. It not only enhances the beauty of your property, but also provides a perfect space for outdoor activities with family and friends. However, maintaining a healthy lawn can sometimes be challenging, especially when faced with common lawn diseases like brown patch fungus. But fear not, for this comprehensive guide will arm you with the knowledge on how to treat brown patch fungus, ensuring your lawn remains the envy of your neighbors.

In the following sections, we’ll delve into the causes and symptoms of brown patch fungus, explore natural and chemical treatment options, and discuss effective prevention strategies to keep this pesky disease at bay. So let’s dive in and learn how to keep your lawn in tip-top condition all year round.

Short Summary

  • Brown patch fungus is caused by Rhizoctonia solani and can be triggered by environmental factors.
  • Visual indicators of brown patch include yellow discoloration, wilting grass blades, dark rings, and white cobweb-like growth on the grass blades.
  • To prevent brown patches from occurring, choose resistant varieties of grasses, maintain optimal soil pH levels & nutrient levels and quickly cover spots with paint to reduce humidity.

Understanding Brown Patch Fungus

Brown patch is a fungal disease caused by Rhizoctonia solani, a sinister foe to both cool-season and warm-season grasses. This unwelcome intruder tends to wreak havoc during late spring, summer, or early fall, depending on the type of grass, location, and recent weather conditions.

But what exactly triggers the dreaded brown patch? Let’s explore its causes and the grass types most affected by this lawn menace.

Causes of Brown Patch

The perfect storm for brown patch development brews when high humidity and warm temperatures converge, creating an ideal breeding ground for the Rhizoctonia fungus. What’s more, an excessive application of nitrogen fertilizer prior to or during periods of hot and humid weather can further increase the susceptibility of grass to brown patches. So, while you may be tempted to lavish your lawn with a nitrogen-rich feast, remember that moderation is key in preventing this fungal fiend from taking hold.

Deficient levels of phosphorus and potassium can also contribute to the disease. Therefore, a balanced approach to fertilization is crucial in keeping brown patches at bay.

Grass Types Affected

While no turfgrass species is entirely immune to brown patches, some are more susceptible than others, particularly in South Carolina. Perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and bentgrasses are the most susceptible to brown patch fungus, with fine fescues and Kentucky bluegrass also being affected, though to a lesser degree.

Fear not, though – we’ll discuss prevention strategies and treatment options later in this guide to help protect your lawn, regardless of the grass type.

It’s important to note that brown patch and large patch diseases can differ significantly depending on the type of grass and soil conditions. Centipedegrass may appear in matted patches. These patches can also take on a rounded shape as the disease-causing fungus keeps spreading outward. Therefore, identifying the type of grass in your lawn is the first step towards effective treatment and prevention.

Identifying Symptoms of Brown Patch

Now that we understand the causes and grass types affected, it’s time to learn how to identify the symptoms of brown patches. Recognizing the telltale signs early on is crucial to tackling the problem before it wreaks havoc on your entire lawn.

So let’s discuss the visual indicators and grass damage caused by this fungal disease.

Visual Indicators

Brown patch fungus announces its presence with circular or oblong patterns of light-yellow discoloration, which eventually turn brown. These patches may range in size from a few inches to several feet in width. Additionally, you may notice yellowing and wilting of grass blades, as well as the presence of dark rings around the patches. These visual cues are your first warning signs that a brown patch has invaded your lawn.

During the early morning hours, when the dew covers the turf, you may also spot cottony mycelium – a white, cobweb-like growth on the grass blades. This is another clear indication that brown patch fungus is at work, and it’s time to take action.

Grass Damage

Brown patch fungus is a clever adversary, attacking the blades of grass without harming the plant’s crown or root system. As a result, it creates brownish, irregularly shaped patches with distinct borders. Within these rings, the grass will thin out, leading to unsightly bare spots or holes in your once lush lawn.

If left untreated, brown patches can cause extensive damage to your lawn. Thus, it’s essential to act quickly upon noticing the symptoms we’ve discussed. In the following sections, we’ll delve into the natural and chemical treatment options available for combating this fungal foe.

Natural Treatment Options for Brown Patch

Before resorting to chemical treatments, it’s worth exploring natural remedies to address brown patch. Some effective natural treatment options include enhancing air circulation, moderating feeding, and ensuring appropriate watering practices.

Let’s now examine the benefits of proper lawn care practices and aeration and dethatching to keep brown patches at bay.

Lawn Care Practices

Cultural practices such as aeration and dethatching should be conducted annually to minimize the likelihood of brown patches. These practices not only help in preventing the disease, but also improve the overall health and appearance of your lawn. Aeration and dethatching enhance soil structure and permit increased water and nutrient absorption, which is vital for a thriving, disease-free lawn.

Remember that prevention is always better than cure, and following good lawn care practices is your first line of defense against brown patches. In the next subsection, we’ll discuss aeration and dethatching in more detail to help you keep your lawn healthy and disease-free.

Aeration and Dethatching

Aeration and dethatching involve extracting small plugs of soil from the lawn to create small holes. This process facilitates the circulation of air, water, and nutrients into the soil, ultimately improving the overall health of your lawn. It’s vital to perform aeration and dethatching when the soil is moist and the grass is actively growing, which typically occurs in the fall.

By conducting aeration and dethatching, you not only improve the soil conditions but also help prevent brown patches by promoting a healthy environment for your grass to thrive in. With proper lawn care practices in place, you can significantly reduce the risk of brown patches and maintain a lush, green lawn.

Chemical Treatment for Brown Patch

In some cases, natural treatment options might not be enough to combat brown patches, and chemical intervention may be necessary. Spot-treating the affected areas with fungicides is a proven method to treat this fungal disease.

However, it’s crucial to choose the right fungicide and apply it correctly for optimal results. Let’s explore how to select the appropriate fungicide and learn some helpful application tips.

Choosing the Right Fungicide

Selecting the appropriate fungicide depends on the type of grass and the severity of the disease. Some recommended fungicides for treating brown patch include azoxystrobin, pyraclostrobin, and fluoxastrobin. However, it’s essential to rotate between two or more chemicals to prevent your lawn from developing resistance to a single chemical.

Conduct thorough research on the variety of grass in your lawn and consult with a lawn care professional to ensure you choose the most effective fungicide for your specific situation. With the right fungicide in hand, it’s time to learn the best application practices to maximize its effectiveness.

Application Tips

When it comes to applying fungicides, following the right practices can make all the difference in treating brown patches effectively. One crucial tip is to spot-treat affected areas instead of distributing chemicals over the entire lawn. This targeted approach not only saves resources but also reduces the overall exposure of your lawn to chemicals.

Other essential application tips include avoiding heavy feedings during periods of high heat and humidity, watering early in the day, and reducing humidity by removing condensation. These practices, combined with proper fungicide application, will help you successfully treat brown patches and restore your lawn’s health and beauty.

Prevention Strategies for Brown Patch

Preventing brown patches is the ultimate goal for achieving a healthy, thriving lawn. By selecting resistant grass varieties, ensuring optimal soil pH and nutrient levels, and even painting the lawn to quickly cover brown spots, you can keep your lawn in top shape and minimize the risk of brown patches.

In the following subsections, we’ll delve deeper into these prevention strategies to help you maintain a lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood.

Selecting Resistant Grass Varieties

Kentucky-31 tall fescue is known for its greater resistance to brown patches compared to other grasses. By choosing resistant grass varieties, you can reduce the susceptibility of your lawn to brown patches and potentially decrease the need for fungicides.

Consider the climate, soil type, and amount of sunlight your lawn will be exposed to when selecting a grass variety. This will help you make an informed decision and choose a grass type that’s less prone to brown patches.

Incorporating resistant grass varieties into your lawn is an essential step towards maintaining a healthy, disease-free lawn that can better withstand the challenges of brown patch fungus.

Soil Health and Drainage

A healthy, well-drained soil is paramount in preventing brown patches. By maintaining proper soil health and ensuring adequate drainage, you create an environment where your lawn can thrive and the risk of brown patches is minimized. It’s worth considering the services of lawn care professionals, who can help keep your lawn disease-free and even provide a free quote.

Taking the time to optimize your soil health and drainage not only aids in brown patch prevention, but also contributes to the overall well-being of your lawn, ensuring it remains lush and green throughout the year.


In conclusion, brown patch fungus can be a formidable adversary, but with the knowledge and strategies outlined in this guide, you have the power to identify, treat, and prevent this common lawn disease. By understanding the causes and symptoms, implementing natural and chemical treatment options when necessary, and adopting effective prevention strategies, you can maintain a healthy, vibrant lawn that’s resistant to the brown patch menace.

So, take charge of your lawn’s health today, and embrace the power of knowledge to ensure your outdoor sanctuary remains a lush, green haven for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best fungicide for brown patch?

For the best results in treating brown patches, it is recommended to use Headway® fungicide. This product contains azoxystrobin and propiconazole, which offers broad-spectrum protection from the disease and other major turf diseases.

Thus, it is an ideal solution for the preventive control of brown patches.

Will brown patch fungus go away?

Brown patch fungus can be controlled by improving air circulation in the lawn, which reduces the humidity that favors the fungus. Aerating and dethatching the lawn will increase air movement and dry out the fungus, leading to dormancy or elimination.

This can help the turfgrass recover from the brown patch damage and improve its appearance.

How do I get rid of brown patch fungus on my lawn naturally?

Maintaining a healthy lawn is critical to preventing the spread of brown patch fungus. To help reduce its growth naturally, water your property in the morning and make sure it gets enough sunlight. Use organic mulch on your soil to protect the grass from excessive moisture, and add compost to boost the soil’s health.

Additionally, you can mix baking soda with water and spray it on your lawn to create an alkaline environment which will kill the fungus.

Can you cure brown patch lawn disease?

Curing brown patch lawn disease is possible, though it may require patience. A fungicide application may be necessary to prevent its spread, and areas that have rotted must regrow before the lawn’s appearance can improve.

However, with consistent care, your turf can recover from this affliction.

What is the brown spot disease on my lawn?

It appears that you are dealing with a condition known as brown patch disease caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia. This disease will cause dead, brown grass patches in hot and humid weather, often appearing as yellowish-brown irregular circular patches surrounded by a smoke ring border.

Therefore, it is likely that this is the issue plaguing your lawn.

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