Gainesville Lawn Pest of the Month: Large Patch Fungus

In your Gainesville lawn as fall comes into town, your grass may begin showing brown circular spots that seem to be struggling. This is typically large patch disease, commonly called brown patch fungus - especially in St. Augustine and Zoysia lawns. 

This turf disease is active when nighttime temperatures range from 60-75 degrees and daytime temperatures don’t exceed 85-90 degrees. These temperatures are usually seen in the Spring and Fall. Like other fungi, Large Patch also requires adequate moisture in its environment to thrive, so be careful with your Gainesville irrigation settings.

This disease affects the blades of the grass and typically will not kill the entire grass plant. It begins as small patches that discolor, yellow then brown, as the grass blades die. An interesting display of Large Patch fungus in a lawn is the “donut effect” it may create. In diseased areas, you may see a ring of rotten grass with some green grass in its center; hence, looking somewhat like a large unsightly donut pattern in your lawn.

As ugly as Large Patch can look, it’s important to remember this disease typically does not kill the entire grass plant - and is mostly cosmetic. Over time, the rotten grass left in the wake of Large Patch fungus will naturally decompose and new grass blades will grow. Mowing will also remove the dead grass blades. It must be mentioned, though, that active Large Patch fungus can be spread easily without much effort. In the event an area with active Large Patch is mowed, make sure to clean off the tires and blades of the mower after going through the affected area to avoid spreading it through your entire Gainesville lawn. 

In order to stop the spread of Large Patch in your lawn, a fungicide application should be made. This will only stop the spread of the disease though; it will not cause the grass to grow faster or green up. New grass will grow in eventually, but this can be a slow process in the Fall, as turfgrass is heading toward its dormant period.

Keep in mind, there may be other causes for brown patches in a lawn though. Ching Bug damage from summer or sprinkler service may be needed? If you see discoloration in a lawn and aren’t sure what the cause is, contact us at (352) 378-LAWN for a complimentary lawn inspection.

We realize that the typical thought of "pest" for Gainesville lawn pest of the month would be an insect, such as chinch bugs or sod webworms. For this article, we consider a 'pest' to be anything that comprimises the health of the lawn or shrubs - such as weeds, insects, or disease.