Ken’s Quick Tip: Why is that ugly brown patch from fall back in my lawn this spring?

Spring brings many great things, blooming flowers, bright-green leaves bursting from trees, warmer weather, and usually more rain for North Texas.  It can also bring out these ugly brown patches (or spots.)

When we have epic weather, it is almost always followed by an epidemic of insects or diseases.  I’m sure many long time residents remember the huge amounts of crickets we had a few years ago or the grasshoppers before that. 

Last fall the epidemic was a fungus called brown patch in St. Augustine.  It didn’t matter what preventative was used or how often it was applied, nearly every St. Augustine lawn had a lot of ugly brown patches.

It is my opinion that the four months of almost no moisture followed by the flooding rains we experienced last fall stressed St. Augustine to the breaking point.

So why am I talking about last fall now? After all it’s spring and that’s history.  Brown patch is also common in the spring and we usually see it in the same areas in which it occurred in the fall.  Since we had lots of it last fall, there’s a pretty good chance we may see more of it than usual this spring.  

How do we go about fighting this nasty little fungus that thrives on warm, damp conditions? 

Here are my Quick Tips on how to fight it in your lawn.
•  Sprinkle in the morning (to avoid water standing overnight.)
•  Avoid allowing water to puddle in the lawn.
•  Use a low nitrogen fertilizer in early spring (brown patch fungus feeds on nitrogen.)
•  Use a preventative such as PCNB before brown patch occurs.
•  If you see brown patches in your lawn, spot treat the areas to prevent them getting larger.

The good news is that brown patch generally only makes your lawn look bad.  It usually won’t kill it.  In fact, many people leave it untreated, taking steps to prevent it after it goes away.  Plus with enough direct sunlight, St. Augustine is incredibly aggressive and that means no matter what happens, it usually fills back in by late spring.

If you have any lawn or landscape questions give us a call at 972.495.6990 or email [email protected]. I love to answer your questions and often can share the information for our Quick Tip series that helps all Village Green customers.