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Treating and Preventing Brown Patch Fungus in Florida

Are you battling mysterious brown spots on your Florida lawn? There’s a good chance these spots are a result of brown patch fungus, a common issue faced by homeowners across the Sunshine State. 

In this blog, we’ll give you our best tips on lawn fungus prevention and our recommended treatments for brown patch fungus. 

What is Brown Patch Fungus?

Lawn with brown patch fungus on the grass and shrubbery around the perimeter.

Brown patch fungus, also called large patch fungus, is a disease caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani. Brown patch is characterized by large brown patches of dead grass, with brown spots ranging from just a few inches wide to several feet in diameter. A common lawn fungus in Florida, brown patch fungus can be hard to resolve, since it can easily spread through mowing, grass clippings, or foot traffic. 

The fungus is most prevalent from November to May when Florida temperatures regularly dip below 80 degrees. The patches are often circular, but can also be irregular in shape. You may notice an orange-brown or yellow-brown “halo” surrounding brown patches. It could also be a yellow-brown ring rather than a patch, with the inner turf appearing healthy.

Have trouble identifying these signs of brown patch fungus? Hulett’s lawn experts can help you diagnose the problems with your lawn, whether you’re experiencing brown patch fungus or another problem. Simply schedule a free lawn inspection today for expert advice.

Causes of Brown Patch Fungus

Brown Patch Fungus can have many possible causes, including:

  • Cooler temperatures in the fall and winter
  • Excess irrigation with rainfall
  • Irrigation in the middle of the night so the grass stays wet for too long
  • Not collecting grass clippings, which keeps the grass damp
  • Mowing with blades containing the fungus
  • Excess nitrogen from improper fertilization
  • Improper mowing practices that weaken the turf
  • Grubs or other lawn pests stressing the turf

Some of these conditions cannot be controlled, such as the heavy rains associated with Florida hurricanes and storms, and the brief cooler weather in the fall and winter. However, some factors can be prevented. These include reducing irrigation after heavy rain, watering in the mornings instead of at night, cleaning mower blades, and using a professional lawn pest control company for your fertilization needs. 

How to Prevent Brown Patch Fungus

Though brown patch fungus is incredibly common, there are a few steps you can take to prevent it from growing. By taking the proper lawn care steps, you can nip lawn fungi in the bud before dealing with those annoying brown patches. 

Water Your Grass in the Morning
A sprinkler sprays water in an arch onto the grass.

A great way to prevent fungi from growing in your grass is to water it in the mornings so excess moisture won’t sit on it overnight. By watering in the morning, moisture will evaporate from your lawn throughout the day. 

Ensure Adequate Lawn Drainage and Irrigation

Since the most common cause of brown patch fungus and other fungi is typically excess moisture, you’ll want to make sure your lawn drains well and water does not pool. Unfortunately, some homes can be especially prone to pooling water, especially if you live in a valley or beside a large hill. 

Some solutions to lawn drainage problems include directing water out of your lawn, trying different landscape plants that absorb water, using landscaping features that help drainage, such as rock, and more. If you’re sick of dealing with your lawn problems alone, call one of Hulett’s lawn technicians

Mow Your Lawn Often

A lawnmower sits on a green lawn in the process of being mowed.

To prevent various fungi from growing, be sure to keep grass at an optimal height, which can vary based on the species of grass you have in your lawn. Many Florida grasses, such as St. Augustine Grass, Bermuda Grass, and Zoysia Grass, should ideally be cut to around two or three inches tall, but this can vary depending on the turf conditions. Appropriate mowing will help your lawn aerate, preventing moisture from pooling. Remember not to “scalp” your lawn by cutting it too short, because this will weaken the turf and make it more susceptible to disease.

Use Appropriate Lawn Fertilization Methods

If you’re working to prevent brown patch fungus, you don’t want to neglect nourishing your lawn, as a healthier lawn is better able to resist and bounce back from fungus, pests, and other ailments. However, you’ll also want to make sure you avoid over-fertilizing. If you’re unsure how to best fertilize your lawn, professional lawn fertilization services can help.

Treating Brown Patch Fungus

Using Fungicide

While the preventive methods we’ve listed above can be great first steps to fight brown patch fungus, fungicide is the best treatment for lawn fungus. It’s vital to ensure you select the correct fungicide and apply the right amount to avoid worsening the infection. Contact Hulett’s eco-friendly lawn care professionals, who can take the guesswork out of fungus treatment and lawn care.

Reconsider Your Landscaping

With proper landscaping, you’ll be able to give your lawn the right amount of shade, not too much or too little, helping to prevent excess humidity and dampness. Regular maintenance and trimming of trees and shrubbery are crucial parts of proper landscaping. 

Get Professional Help With Hulett’s Lawn Care Services

Even if you follow all of our preventative tips, it may not be enough to get rid of the fungus for good. That’s where Hulett comes in. We’re here to help you care for your lawn so you don’t have to do it alone.

Our lawn technicians can help treat brown patch fungus and other lawn fungi, apply seasonal treatments and fertilizers, provide lawn pest services, and more. Get your free inspection today or contact us, and we’ll help you keep your Florida lawn in tip-top shape.