Brown spot in grass

Lawn Mowing Tips: How to Mow Your Lawn Correctly

Remember that mowing is pruning. Proper mowing increases the density of the lawn, which in turn decreases weeds. Each type of grass has a recommended mowing height. Find out which type of grass is in your lawn (you may have more than one) and mow at the proper height.

Stick to the 1/3 rule — never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade length at any one time. A healthy lawn can survive an occasional close cut. Repeated close mowing produces a brown lawn and has several harmful side effects, including:

  • Injury to the crown, where new growth generates and nutrients are stored.
  • Reduction of the surface area of the blade, making the blade surface insufficient to produce food through photosynthesis.
  • Increased vulnerability to pests and disease.
  • An increase in the sunlight reaching weed seeds, allowing them to germinate.
  • Risk of soil compaction.

Also remember to:

  • Mow when the grass is dry. The blades will be upright and less likely to clump when cut.
  • Avoid mowing in the heat of the day to prevent heat stress on your grass and yourself.
  • Keep mower blades sharp and balanced. Ragged cuts made by dull blades increase the chance of disease and pests.
  • Change the mowing pattern each time you mow. Grass develops a grain based on your cutting direction, tending to lean towards the direction you mow. Alternating the pattern causes more upright growth and helps avoid producing ruts in the lawn.
  • Mow moving forward, whether you’re pushing a walk-behind mower or sitting behind the wheel of a lawn tractor.
  • Discharge the clippings (unless you bag them) towards the area you have already cut.
  • Leave clippings on the lawn unless they form clumps or rows. This technique (known as grass cycling) returns nutrients and nitrogen to the lawn.
  • Consider using a mulching mower or mulching attachments.
  • If you bag your clippings, consider composting them.
  • Mow grass higher in shaded areas under trees. In these areas grass has to compete with tree roots for water and nutrients.
  • Reduce mowing frequency and raise the mowing height of cool-season grasses when hot, dry weather slows their growth rate.
  • Follow the proper fertilizing schedule for your type of turfgrass.

Mowing new grass
Newly-seeded grass needs three to four weeks to get established after germination before you should mow it for the first time. The grass blades are tender and easily damaged and the foot and mower traffic could compact the soil, especially if the soil is moist. Mow when the new grass is 3/4 inch to 1 inch taller than its recommended regular mowing height.

Brown Patch & Take-All Fungus Diseases in Lawns

April 28, 2007 Article

by David Rodriguez

People who love their lawns in this area are REALLY upset about Brown patch fungus damage to the appearance of lawns. Most of the grief is about the damage that occurred last fall. As the old saying goes, “It doesn’t do any good to cry about spilled milk!” or, as tough Texans like to say, “It doesn’t do any good to shut the corral gate after the livestock are running loose!” The damage done by Brown patch was done last fall AND TREATING THE DAMAGED AREA NOW WILL NOT HELP! The areas affected by Brown patch last fall will be slower to green up this spring but THEY WILL GREEN UP because BROWN PATCH FUNGUS DOES NOT KILL! Just apply your spring application of fertilizer AFTER you have mowed the lawn twice and ignore the weakened Brown patch affected area. In several weeks you will not be able to find it. If you want to insure a faster and complete coverage of the damaged area, you can plant some plugs of grass in the most barren areas.

I AM NOT saying that your troubles with Brown patch are over. Given adequate moisture and high humidity, plus temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s, means more plant disease-especially Brown patch. But you DO NOT need to treat until you see the first signs of Brown patch reappearing in exactly the same areas that were affected last fall and that were so slow to green up this spring. Once the damage begins to appear, you MUST treat immediately with the best fungicide in the proper manner to avoid severe damage to the lawn this spring and subsequent ugliness all summer long.

Fungicides cannot repair the damage done by fungus; they can only prevent the occurrence or spread of it. The most important concept to remember in disease control is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is the opposite of insecticides, most of which kill insects on contact or when the insect eats the pest-control material covering the plant. Therefore, fungicides should be applied when the opportunity for disease raises its ugly head. Cool temperatures, high humidity and available water are the perfect conditions for most fungal diseases to attack. Increased growth of the grass makes it more susceptible to Brown patch. This means that all of those folks who “love” their grass so much that they fertilize it twice a month and water it every three days actually STIMULATE Brown patch proliferation. All of that fertilizer may make the lawn nice and green for a while but just wait until those cute brown spots begin to grow aggravated by watering too much!

Brown patch is identified as a circular area in the lawn, usually 3 to 10 feet in diameter. In the edge of the area you will see browning or yellowing grass, yet the interior of the circle may be a more healthy green. Pull blades of grass at the edge of the circle. If the blades pull easily away from the stems and look brown and rotted at the base of the blades, then your lawn does have Brown patch and should be treated quickly. Bermuda grass lawns have much less problems with Brown patch but can still contract the disease.
Chemical controls recommended for Brown patch are l) terrachlor – PCNB (ex. Turfcide, Fertilome – Lawn Disease Control) and 2) bayleton (ex. Greenlight Fung-Away). The best product seems to be the granular form of terrachlor but, because it is so expensive, you must use it judiciously and precisely. Watch for the small yellow patches (NO! It’s not the neighbor’s dog violating your lawn space and depositing liquid waste!). Treat the spot IMMEDIATELY with terrachlor granules and then treat a 3-foot area around the spot. To avoid spreading the fungus DO NOT WALK THROUGH infected areas when they are wet or let pets run through the wet grass-a pet’s feet are smaller but they have more of them. DO NOT, hear me, DO NOT MOW GRASS WHEN IT IS WET! Not only will it stain your clothing and clog the mower but, as you trot merrily around the damp or wet lawn, you become a disease spreader. Worse than Typhoid Mary, your wet body parts and the lawnmower act as a vehicle of transport for one of the worse fungus diseases of turf grass in Texas-Brown patch.

Another way to discourage Brown patch after the rains of spring is to eliminate watering in the evening. Water droplets that stay on the grass all night will spread the Brown patch spores. Therefore, water in the early morning hours so that the grass will dry out during the day and before nightfall. Thorough watering of lawns once a week is normally sufficient. The people who love their lawns so much that they give grass a “cool drink” every couple of days during the summer can actually stimulate Brown patch disease in the middle of the summer.

Now you know the “game plan” to protect your precious lawn from one of this area’s most serious lawn problems in the fall and spring Brown patch.

But, what if you have Brown patch-like symptoms in the heat of the summer? Unlike Brown patch that is normally a circular area with the edge of the circle having browning or yellowing grass and the interior of the circle having a more healthy green appearance, this patch disease symptom has brown, dead grass throughout the circle. This summer-patch disease is referred to as Take-All Patch. The products used to control Brown patch DO NOT control Take-All Patch. For complete information about control of Take-All Patch, see: and the bottom section of

Remember, Learn and Have Fun!

David Rodriguez is the County Extension Agent-Horticulture for Bexar County. He represents Texas Cooperative Extension with the Texas A&M University System. To get questions like these answered, call the Bexar County Master Gardeners Hotline at (210) 467-6575, e-mail questions to [email protected], or visit our County Extension website at:, click under Horticulture and Gardening.

Special Note: Listen to a live broadcast of the Garden Show with David Rodriguez and Bill Rohde on WOAI 1200 AM every Saturday morning, between 8:00 and 11:00 a.m., call in your gardening questions at (210-737-1200 or 1-800-383-9624). Check it out!

What Causes Brown Spots in the Lawn?

It can be alarming and frustrating to see brown spots ruining what would otherwise be a beautiful green stretch of grass, especially if you’re not sure how they got there or what to do about them. Brown spots in the lawn can show up for many different reasons, so the first step toward treating them is to identify the cause of the problem. Below are the most common causes of brown spots in the lawn and how to treat them so you can get your lush green lawn back.


Brown spots due to fungal problems usually show up as irregular patches. If the disease has been active for a while, the inside of the patch may recover, leaving a ring of dead grass around it. Extremely rainy or humid weather can encourage fungal outbreaks, as can lack of sunlight and poor air circulation. Although you can’t control the weather, there is something you can do to protect against fungus. ApplyScotts® DiseaseEx™Lawn Fungicide according to the label directions to not only treat active diseases, but also to prevent future problems from listed fungi.


Grubs damage grass by eating the roots, leading to small brown patches that eventually widen in a relatively uniform way. Patches caused by grubs will feel sponge-like and roll up when raked because of the root damage. To kill existing grubs and prevent future grub damage, use Scotts®GrubEx®1 every spring. Damage can be repaired at any time, though fall is best. To repair existing brown spots, rake the affected area to remove the dead grass, then applying Scotts® EZ Seed® Patch & Repair for small areas or Scotts® Turf Builder® Grass Seed for larger areas. With all of these products, be sure to follow label directions.

Dog Urine Burns

One of the most common causes of brown spots in the lawn is Spot’s trips outside to relieve herself. Dog urine burns, caused by the high amount of nitrogen in the urine, are recognizable by their brown centers and dark green outer rings. To fix them, use Scotts® EZ Seed® Dog Spot Repair Sun and Shade according to package instructions. For tall fescue lawns, try Scotts® EZ Seed® Dog Spot Repair Tall Fescue Lawns.

I have a brown spot in my yard, how do I get rid of it?

What causes brown spots in my lawn?

Brown spots in the lawn can be caused by many things, including: dog urine, brown patch fungus, a dull lawnmower blade or grubs.

How to fix brown patch in lawn?

  • To prevent spots caused by the nitrogen in dog urine, create a mulch or gravel area in your yard for your dog.

  • If your brown spots appear after you mow, check your mower blade. Dull blades shred the grass, which damages the ends that then turn brown.

  • In midsummer, check for grubs. And if you find them, apply a grub control product to your lawn.

  • Brown patch fungus grows in circular patterns sometimes several feet wide and is generally found during hot, sticky weather. Treat your lawn every other week for 6 weeks (3 applications) with a lawn fungus control product. And water just once a week, since a wet lawn encourages the fungus.

  • If you have broad patches of brown, you could have overfed your lawn. Water the burned area every 3 days with at least one-half inch of water for about 4 weeks. And don’t fertilize again until the area perks back up.

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Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

What is causing these brown patches in my yard?

All lawns are not perfect. Some homeowners are fanatical about how their lawns look and will go above and beyond to make sure that the fertilization treatments are done on a perfect quarterly basis, are watered on a daily basis, and mowed every 5-7 days. On the other hand, there are plenty of homeowners that simply cut the grass because they don’t want a fine from the city. Either way, both homeowners are not immune to brown spots in their lawn. One can do everything right and then suddenly there’s a patch of grass that is dead or is dying. There are a number of causes of brown causes and we will examine those shortly.

According to Miracle-Grow, Brown Patches are most common to Bermuda, Kentucky, Bluegrass, Centipede Grass, Bent Grass, St. Augustine, and ryegrass. They normally start as a small spot and can quickly spread outwards in a circular or horseshoe pattern up to a few feet wide.

So how can you prevent these brown spots in your lawn? Let’s first identify what the causes could be. So what GreenPal did was reach out to some local lawn pros to help us answer the question to what causes for this crop-circle type activity.

John Mojica with SAO Group Land Maintenance in Buford, Georgia warns us to check our mower blades first.

“Improper mowing can cause a lot of problems with your lawn. Dull mower blades tend to rip grass blades instead of cutting them, allowing the tips to dry out. Also, cutting it too low, or scalping it, allows the grass to crown and soil below to dry too quickly.”

Will Cagle of Cagles Cuts in Pevely, Missouripoints most of the brown spots to man’s best friend.

“Our 4 legged friends are probably the culprit for some of the brown spots or urine spots that show up in our lawns. Other large birds and certainly other animals can cause those as well but most of the time it’s the family dogs that tend to relieve themselves in the same location.”

Kristen Burnsed with the K Company in Orlando, Florida warns that it could be caused by chemicals.

“Fertilizer, herbicides, gasoline, kerosene, and pesticides can cause brown spots if spilled. If fertilizer is not applied properly or incorrectly, it can burn the grass. I have seen it too many times. Some insect repellents can also burn your lawn so be careful when applying that as well.”

So now that we have identified what could be a cause of brown spot, How can you fix it? GreenPal reached out to more lawn care pros to find out.

Sean Fitzpatrick of Sean’s Lawn Care in Nashville, Tennessee tells his homeowners to aerate the area.

“Dethatch, aerate, and fertilize. If possible, reduce the shade to the affected area and keeping a fertilization schedule will help quickly remove those brown patches. Nothing will be instant but those will quickly reduce the time your lush lawn’s down time.”

Chance Rosenberger of Curb Appeal Landscape in Charlotte, North Carolina says temporarily watering those areas will help.

“All lawns are different and are sensitive when it comes to watering, either because they have too much or too little of it. One inch per week is plenty but if your lawn is starting to dry out in some spots, increase your watering efforts just a little. This will help revitalize your dead grass.”

Whether it’s your 4-legged friend or you mower blades causing these ugly brown spots, following these tips can help get your lawn back into tip top shape.

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Brown Spots in New Sod

As the cooler spring days fade into the heat of summer, a lot of new lawns have been plagued with brown spots. However, there is no need to worry as these can easily be fixed. Typically, brown spots are caused by a lack of watering. New sod is especially prone to drying out because it has such a shallow root system. Brown spots occur when the sod dries out and experiences drought shock. In response to the lack of water, the sod will go into dormancy to try and combat the lack of water its experiencing, basically it goes into dormancy as a survival mechanism. Once it’s dormant it still needs water or it will die. Often times, edges of the sod tends to dry out first because they are exposed to the most air and dry out faster. The spotting in the sod occurs for a variety of reasons, but it depends mostly on how water is dispersed around the yard and the various dips and valleys in the grade of the lawn. If certain parts are getting less water, even just a tiny bit less, it could be enough to turn them brown.

For new sod, it still has a very shallow and underdeveloped root system that’s only about ¾ of an inch deep. When it’s extremely hot or windy, the dry air causes the plant to dry out quickly since the root system is so shallow. A lot of times the ground below the plant will be wet but the plant itself is drying out. If the root system still hasn’t had a chance to root into the ground, then it won’t be able to access any of that water. The roots can’t grow into the ground if they don’t have enough water, and the roots are the main source of water, so without a strong root system, the grass is relying on you to keep it well hydrated as it gets more established.

Now that you know a little more about why brown spots are caused, you’re probably wondering how to fix them. The answer is water. Especially with the really hot weather the summer so often brings, your lawn needs water. A lot of times even watering every day is not enough for new lawns. If the grass is dry, it needs water. Especially the first 1-8 weeks that you install it. Giving it a long watering at night is great because it helps the sod get a really thorough drink that won’t evaporate right away with the heat, but it’s also important to periodically water throughout the day. Even fertilizer won’t help your grass until it’s green and healthy again. If the plant is dying, then it won’t take the fertilizer so wait to fertilize until its greened back up. Once it’s healthy, fertilizer really helps it grow and establish the deeper root system it needs. So what it comes down to is more frequent irrigation cycles and hand watering the brown spots during the day.

Although brown spots in new lawns can be frustrating, it’s just your lawns way of asking for a drink. So keep your brand new lawn happy and healthy by making sure it gets plenty of water when brow spots appear!

Early Sod Care

Second through fifth day watering

It’s very important to check your lawn at least once per day during the week after installation to ensure that there is adequate moisture for the turf to flourish. During hot and/or windy weather, you may need to check for moisture more than once per day. Walk on the new lawn to inspect it. If you observe water puddles or soil that is so soft that you leave footprints, it is too wet. However, if you walk across your lawn to inspect it and find that the soil is very firm, lift a comer of the grass in several places. The soil should be damp– not dripping wet or dusty dry.

Further watering

After about five days, it is time to start reducing your watering habits. If you do not reduce the amount of water applied to your lawn, you risk drowning the sod or preventing proper root development. Grass plants will not grow in waterlogged soils! Now is the time to begin stretching out the amount of time between waterings. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, you will need to reset the timer. Follow this philosophy: deep, infrequent watering. Watch the color of the sod for watering: green is good, blue-green indicates not enough water, and yellow-tan means the sod is heat/moisture stressed and will go dormant.

Signs of under watering

Areas where the grass has wilted, or turned a straw color, have not received enough water. Seeing green grass turn brown almost overnight will get your attention! This is the most obvious symptom of under-watering. The roots and crowns of the grass plant are still alive, and in most cases, new leaves will appear in seven to ten days, if immediate action is taken. Another indication of under-watering is cracks that appear between the rows of sod. Both of these signs of under-watering that can be corrected by watering longer than you have been currently, with more water. Temperatures above 80° generally mean more water is needed, while temperatures below 60° mean less water is needed. In the cooler months of March, April, October and November, sod needs much less water.


Your new living carpet needs mowing 6-7 days after installation. The basic mowing rule is never removing more than 1/3 of the leaf blade during a single mowing. Mow when grass height reaches 3″-3 1/2″. Set your mower at a cutting height of 2″-2 1/2″. For best appearance, be sure to keep your mower blades sharp.

How soon can I use the sod?

For best establishment, the sod needs time to properly root to the new soil. Early watering often makes the soil underneath the sod soft, and susceptible to ruts. Making deep footprints when the soil is soft won’t hurt the sod, but will make for an uneven lawn in the future. Therefore, use your new lawn sparingly until good root establishment has taken place, usually 2-3 weeks. Avoid concentrated play activities, dog traffic or similar rough usage until four weeks have passed. There are no restrictions on visually enjoying your lawn.

Weed killers

Your new sod does not need any type of weed killers. Should a dandelion or other small weed pop up, pull it out, making sure that you pulled out the root as well. Pulling out roots will ensure that weeds will not return.


Your new lawn does not need any fertilizer for at least two weeks. During this time, you can weigh your options and decide if you plan on fertilizing the yard yourself or hiring a professional service to do it for you. If you plan on fertilizing your sod yourself, go to your favorite garden center and let them help you set up a fertilization schedule.

Brown patch lawn disease is one of the most destructive of all turf lawn diseases. It sneaks up on you and destroys large areas of turf virtually overnight when the weather conditions are just right.

Brown patch lawn disease isn’t picky; it attacks a wide variety of grass types, and really likes the lawns receiving large amounts of fast release nitrogen fertilizer.

Learn more about how lawn disease develops and tips to prevent it.

Brown Patch Loves Hot Summer

“Brown Patch is the most damaging turf grass disease”

Brown patch is really a summer lawn disease that’s caused by a fungus called Rhizoctonia. The disease begins to show growth when temperatures reach 65°, but the most active growth of brown patch lawn disease occurs at temperatures of 80-85° when humidity levels are very high.

The fungi survive the winter in plant debris (thatch) and enter the leaf tissue through wounds caused by mowing and through the pores (or stomata) when daytime temperatures get into the 70s. Infected turf grass can go quite a while without showing damage because it’s actively growing. But, if the daytime temperatures reach the mid 80s and nighttime air temperatures stay above 70°, the grass will be under stress. Then, lawn disease damage can become visible almost immediately.

Once started, brown patch lawn disease spreads fast. Brown patch damage first appears as circular areas of brown and dead grass surrounded by a narrow, dark ring. This dark, smoke ring is not always visible, but is more likely to appear in the early morning when there’s dew on the grass. Brown patch lawn disease grows out from a central point, so these circular areas can enlarge rapidly. Brown patch circles range from a few inches in diameter to several feet, and are not always true circles. Sometimes the patches grow together, creating large irregular dead areas. Diseased turf first appears water soaked with leaf edges showing a wavy or wilted pattern, but soon dies completely and mats down, creating a sunken effect.

Cultural Management: Preventing Brown Patch Lawn Disease

Since high levels of fast release nitrogen increase disease activity, Spring-Green uses a correct blend of fertilizers for lawn fertilizing during the warmer months. Mow less frequently during periods of hot and humid weather, this reduces stress and limits the movement of grass disease by being carried on your feet or mower. If possible, increase light and air penetration, or movement, by pruning overhanging trees and shrubs. During cooler seasons, open up the thatch layer with power core aeration. If these cultural cures fail, a preventative fungicide lawn treatment program may have to be applied to control this most damaging of lawn diseases.


  • Brown patch is the most damaging of all turf grass diseases
  • Brown patch lawn disease becomes most active when day temperatures are over 85° and night air stays above 70°
  • Because infected plants may appear healthy, brown patch damage can occur very fast when conditions are right
  • Avoid high levels of nitrogen in fast release form; it encourages brown patch development

Learn more about grass facts and keeping your lawn healthy and green. At Spring-Green, we take brown patch lawn disease seriously because we know the damage it can cause. If you ever suspect this disease of infecting your turf, please contact your neighborhood Spring-Green lawn service.

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Brown Patch Disease of Lawns – Introduction

The beauty of a lawn can be quickly destroyed by brown patch (Rhizoctonia species), a serious fungal disease that can affect all South Texas lawn grasses. It can develop rapidly when temperatures are warm (70° to 90° F) and humid, especially during warmer periods of the fall and winter months. Warm-season grasses such as St. Augustine (especially the over-planted ‘Raleigh’ selection), Bermuda, and Zoysia are most commonly affected by brown patch (also called large patch) during the early spring and late fall.

Symptoms of brown patch may vary greatly with the type of grass and soil conditions. The disease usually causes thinned patches of light brown grass that are roughly circular in shape. These areas range in diameter from a few inches to several feet. Often the center of the patch will recover, resulting in a doughnut-shaped pattern.

When disease conditions are favorable, large areas of the lawn may be uniformly thinned and eventually killed with no circular patch being evident. This type of pattern is commonly seen on infected St. Augustine grass grown in shady, moist locations.

Close inspection of grass blades reveals small, irregular, tan leaf spots (burnt cigarette appearance) with dark-brown borders in combination of rotted leaf sheaths near the soil surface.

Grasses Commonly Affected
All types of lawn grasses grown in South Texas can be affected by brown patch. There are no turfgrass species currently available that are entirely resistant to brown patch. Brown patch is the most common and important disease of ‘Raleigh’ St. Augustine in this area. In most cases, affected areas are able to recover, but the selection of Flora-TAM (St. Augustine) shows the most potential for being highly resistant.

Prevention and Treatment
The best way to prevent brown patch in the home lawn is by following good lawn care practices. This is much easier and less expensive than the use of fungicides and can be very effective.

Avoid high nitrogen rates on warm season grasses in mid to late fall. The brown patch fungus readily attacks the lush growth of grass which nitrogen promotes. The use of Texas greensand as a supplement when fertilizing will help adjust the soil pH, thus making essential nutrients readily available. Apply Texas greensand at a rate of 10 pounds per 1000 square feet.

Irrigate grass only when needed and to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Water early in the morning. This disease can spread fast when free moisture is present.

Avoid spreading the disease to other areas. Remove clippings if the weather is warm and moist to prevent spread to other areas during mowing.

Keep lawns mowed on a regular basis to the proper height for the grass species you are growing. Prevent excessive thatch buildup.

Provide good drainage for both surface and subsurface areas.

Fungicides can be difficult to rely upon for controlling brown patch in the home lawn, but regular applications can vastly improve appearance. A good “rule of thumb” to follow on warm-season grasses is to initiate fungicide sprays when nighttime low temperatures reach 70° F. Stop applications when nighttime lows are forecast to be below 70° F for five consecutive days. Typically, applications are made at 14-day intervals. If disease is severe enough to warrant chemical control, select one of the following fungicides listed in Table 1. Alternate fungicides to prevent buildup and resistance to the chemical. Slightly better control may be obtained by a liquid fungicide application rather than by granular application.

Table 1. Chemicals for Control of Brown Patch

Fungicides Examples of Brands Form of Product
propiconazole Ferti-lome Liquid Systemic Fungicide
Bonide Infuse Fungicide
Wettable Powder
mancozeb Green Light Spectrum Mancozeb Fungicide Wettable Powder
PCNB Hi-Yield Terraclor Granular Fungicide Granules
triadimefon Bonide Fung-onil Lawn Disease Control
Green Light Fung-Away
Hi-Yield Lawn Fungicide
Bayer Advanced Lawn Fungus Control
Concentrate or Ready-To-Spray
myclobutanil Spectracide Immunox
Ferti-lome F-Stop Lawn Fungicide
Green Light Fung-Away
Granules & Concentrate
flutolanil* ProStar Wettable Powder
fenarimol* Rubigan Concentrate
azoxystrobin* Heritage Wettable Powder

* Due to product cost and for accurate application, homeowners may want to hire a licensed landscaper to apply products containing these fungicides.

Remember, Learn and Have Fun!

David Rodriguez is the County Extension Agent-Horticulture for Bexar County. He represents Texas Cooperative Extension with the Texas A&M University System. For any landscape or gardening information, call the Bexar County Master Gardeners Hotline at (210) 467-6575, e-mail questions to [email protected], or visit our County Extension website at

Special Note: Listen to live broadcast of the Home & Garden Show with David Rodriguez & Bill Rohde on WOAI 1200 AM, every Saturday morning between 8:00-11:00 a.m., and call in your gardening questions at (210) 737-1200 or 1-800-383-9624. Check it out!

Leaf Spot Disease Control

Symptoms of Leaf Spot Disease

Leaf spot is a disease caused by a number of different fungal organisms from the category Helminthosporium. It is marked by the following symptoms:

  • Leaf Lesions- During the early stages of infection, the disease causes circular lesions to appear on the blades of your grass. These lesions typically start out as tan or brown but can become dark brown or even black depending on the severity of the infection.
  • Withering Leaves- If lesions remain on your grass for long periods of time, the blades will start to become yellowish and shriveled. This often gives grass the appearance of being dehydrated, leading homeowners to try watering their lawns more in order to deal with the problem. But because fungi are causing the issue, watering your lawn more will not help, and may even cause the disease to spread.
  • Root Rot- Leaf lesions and discoloration occur during the early spring, but as the weather gets warmer, the fungus will spread to the crowns and roots of your grass. This leads to a process of “melting out,” during which turf dies in large patches. If you don’t stop the disease at this stage, you may end up having to replace large portions of your lawn.

Recognizing the early symptoms of leaf spot disease is critical for keeping the overall damage to a minimum. If you catch leaf spot when it is still limited to the grass blades, you can get rid of it and restore your lawn to full health. But if you let it reach the point of melting out, there’s likely little you can do to save the current grass. You should memorize the symptoms and be ready.

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