When you start seeing brown spots all over your lawn, you know there is a problem. But what actually is the problem and what can you do about it?
Obviously, your grass can develop a brownish color when it is scorched by the sun. If your lawn has isolated brown spots, though, or if it is slimy, your grass may be plagued with fungal disease.
So how do you treat brown patches and control the fungal disease on your lawn?
Fungi and spores can actually be natural and healthy to some grasses. In most cases, a fungus is harmless. Sometimes, though, as brown and yellow spots become visible, it will become evident that your lawn has contracted fungal disease, putting a blight on your yard. The causes of lawn fungal disease include:
Lawn fungal disease typically appears in brown (or sometimes yellow) patches. It consists of rings that grow over time. Fungal disease can also manifest itself in darkened, wet, or slimy-looking areas. These areas will be spotty and the grass in those areas will experience stunted growth.
It’s important to remember that lawn damage isn’t always lawn fungus. So you may want to reach out to an expert to determine whether or not the symptoms match the diagnosis. If your grass exhibits the symptoms described above, though, there is a good chance your lawn has a fungus.
First of all, avoid walking over fungal area so you don’t spread disease across the lawn; you will want to keep the fungus contained to a small area. Some of the prevention and treatment steps below may be obvious, or seem fundamental, but they will help foster a healing environment for your lawn.
Using too much fertilizer can make your grass prone to fungi. Too little fertilizer can do the same. If you are concerned about fungus on your lawn it may be a good idea to try an organic, slow-release fertilizer. Excess nitrogen in synthetic fertilizer quickly makes a lawn green, but can also disturb the natural ecosystem of the lawn. If you want your grass to be less prone to disease, organic fertilizer may be the right solution.
Try watering less frequently for a longer period of time. It’s also best to water your grass in the morning so the water has a full day to absorb into the soil or evaporate.
After you remove a layer of thatch from your lawn, your soil will have the opportunity to breathe and won't be as vulnerable to fungal outbreak.
Aerating loosens your soil to help create a good growing environment.
Mowing too low can encourage fungal disease. Leave your grass at a height of 3 to 4 inches.
Ensure that your grass type matches the climate you live in. If it doesn’t, you may want to consider re-seeding.
As a last resort, you may want to try a fungicide on your lawn. A fungicide can eradicate your fungus problem as you work on improving your lawn care regimen to prevent fungi from coming back.
Keep in mind that time may be the best healer. If you maintain your lawn properly, making sure to practice the basics of lawn care, your grass should return to a healthy state.