How to Identify Disease in Your Texas Lawn
Lawns in Dallas and throughout the south can encounter many different harmful lawn diseases and conditions. The best way to protect your lawn from costly damage is to understand how to identify different common lawn diseases in Texas. Two lawn diseases that are often confused are large patch and brown patch fungus. Although they have similarities, they are two different pathogens and can affect different types of grass.
What is Large Patch Fungus?
Large patch fungus, in the scientific family of Rhizoctonia solani, is a fungal disease that mostly affects warm-season grasses in Texas, such as Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, and Zoysia grass. Here are some key characteristics of Large patch fungus:
Large patch disease starts as small, circular patches that can grow to be several feet in diameter. The patches are often straw-colored or light brown, with a yellowish border. The affected area of grass will stay upright with lesions on the grass blades.
Causes and Time of Occurrence
Large patch is more active in cooler, wetter months, particularly in fall and early spring when temperatures are below 70 degrees. This lawn disease will flourish in areas of excessive shade, moisture, and high nitrogen.
Warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass, st. Augustine and Zoysia grass are particularly vulnerable to large patch. Large patch disease affects the grass at the stolon level, meaning thatch, roots, stems, and grass blades can be affected if untreated.
Large Patch Prevention and Treatment
To prevent large patch, avoid excessive nitrogen fertilization in late fall, address areas of poor drainage, and avoid watering in the late afternoon or evening. Watering in the early morning is best to allow the lawn to fully dry and limit fungus in your lawn. Annual aeration and dethatching can also limit disease and improve the lawn’s ability to recover. Preventative fungicide applications are the best way to get ahead of a lawn disease like large patch.
What is Brown Patch Fungus?
Brown patch fungus, also in the family of Rhizoctonia solani, is another common fungal disease in Texas lawns. This disease tends to affect cool-season grasses, such as tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, but that doesn’t mean warm-season grasses are in the clear. Here are some characteristics of brown patch disease:
Brown patch appears as irregularly shaped brown spots ranging from a few inches to several feet in diameter. The outer edges of the patches are typically darker than the center. Grass in the affected area will flatten and wilt, eventually turning brown.
Causes and Time of Occurrence
Brown patch thrives in warm, humid conditions and is most active during high humidity and hot weather, usually in the late spring, summer, and early fall months. Thatch, compaction, poor drainage, overwatering, and excessive nitrogen can encourage this lawn fungus.
Cool-season grasses like tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass are very susceptible to brown patch disease. It can also affect warm-season grasses like St. Augustine and Zoysia grass. Brown patch fungus is a foliar disease meaning it affects the grass blades and does not affect the crown or roots.
Brown Patch Prevention and Treatment
To prevent brown patch fungus, promote good air circulation by avoiding excessive thatch buildup with annual aeration and dethatching. Homeowners should mow at the appropriate mowing height for their grass type, and water early in the early morning. Fungicides labeled for Brown Patch Fungus can be used as a preventative measure or when the disease is identified.
Professional Dallas Lawn Care
When it comes to maintaining a healthy, lush lawn in Dallas, lawn diseases can be a real damper. Homeowners looking to protect their lawns from common lawn diseases can trust the professionals at Lawn Tech. We offer preventative fungicides that are strategically timed to limit disease development in your Texas lawn. Our lawn care programs include all the necessary weed control and fertilization to maintain a happy, healthy lawn all year long. Since 1985, we’ve provided high-quality lawn care, aeration, lawn pest control, and fungicides in Dallas, Allen, Frisco, Prosper, Plano, and surrounding areas. Contact us today for a free quote!