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What is this brown circle?

Posted by manofice3484 NC (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 30, 14 at 21:59

Hey all, long time reader but I need your help! I've only lived at this house for one year and trying to get the lawn in order. I live in Charlotte, NC and I think I have Fescue grass but not 100%. Anyway, I have this random brown circle dead patch near my side walk. I took a shovel to the area today and didn't see any grubs, but the grass pulls up very very easily. I thought maybe chinch bugs? I do have a ton of bugs in the lawn like spiders and such. I smelled the dirt too and it just smells like earthy dirt, nothing unusual. I thought it's possible that a dog walker could have had their dog pee here, but it's almost a perfect circle...not sure if dog pee forms like that?

Thanks for your help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What is this brown circle?

Looks like large patch in zoysia to me. Does not look like the disease is active.


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RE: What is this brown circle?

Thanks for your posting Manofice3484. I bet Joneboy is right on the nose with his diagnosis. I believe some of the zoysia sod I bought from a nursery 2 years ago (and then again last year) also came down with large patch disease.

The large patch disease showed up roughly a year-and-a-half later in 4 big pieces of sod I bought and laid 2 years ago in the Front yard. The disease also showed up the *very same year* in 6 large pieces of sod I bought and laid last year in the Back yard.

The problem is that the disease spread to a couple other spots in my beautiful, tough zoysia from the 1970's. And the spots to which it spread are noncontiguous--many feet away from the pitiful Sod Farm zoysia I laid. So the zoysia grass located in between the pitiful Sod Farm-grown zoysia and my now-infected '70's zoysia still looks good. It's kind of like the Large Patch Disease "jumped" many feet away to infect other grass, and left the grass in between untouched so far. Maybe it was spread by infected grass pieces sticking to my shoes--I don't know.

I don't think the many, many smaller plugs I cut and laid 2 years ago from the big pieces of sod have come down with Large Patch--just the big pieces of sod I planted whole. Makes me wonder why. Also makes me think I won't plant whole, large sod pieces again--only smaller cut plugs.

Also makes me want to avoid buying anymore sod from the local sod farm here where this grass was grown (I won't name the farm). I wonder if other zoysia sod farms in the St. Louis area also have this problem?

This makes me remember what a nursery worker said to me a couple years ago about whole yards being affected by a disease he hadn't named. The nursery was getting calls I guess.

Anywho, the infection in the backyard seems to not be spreading anymore, but I'm less sanguine about the front yard. I'm worried the large patch might still be active there. Will have to wait and see.

I don't understand what happened. Maybe sod farms dope up their grass with so many chemicals that the sod is like a weak drug-adled person--a pushover that can't fend defensively for itself. Don't human addicts come down with more diseases than other persons? Maybe it's the same with grass. All I can say is I would rather buy organically grown sod and contend with a few weeds than buy doped-up sod and contend with Large Patch Disease.

Won't be buying grass originating from that Sod Farm again. Its sod is definitely weaker and frailer than my organic 1970's zoysia sod.

Manofice3484, not sure how you and I should handle this large patch. I think I'm going to do as little as possible with it and hope the front yard disease stops spreading on its own like the back yard disease seems to have stopped. One thing is for sure I'm not going to walk over or run my mower over the infected areas. The disease seems to spread by contact. Anyone else have suggestions on battling large patch?


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RE: What is this brown circle?

Although I'm in Missouri, a great article written by three Plant Pathology professors at the University of Arkansas may be helpful to us Manofice3484:

Here's the link to the article by Doctors Vann, Milus, and Cartwright:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?hl=en&q=cache:CCqNKPinPaEJ:http://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/fsa-7527.pdf%2Bkill+large+patch+disease+in+zoysia&gbv=1&&ct=clnk

The main points are there are no fungicides available on the market to homeowners for combatting large patch disease. The fungicides are available for sale only to companies (not homeowners)--must be toxic stuff. I know I don't want those fungicides on my lawn.

Other main points from the article are that homeowners should try controlling the large patch disease through proper cultural practices before calling a company to spray fungicide. The cultural practices are listed in detail by the professors.

Here's just an excerpt from the beginning of the article to wet our appetites:

[Quote]
"Rhizoctonia large patch occurs in the fall and spring as circular, dis­colored patches that expand over time (Figure 1). The disease is favored by cool temperatures and wet conditions and may be especially severe in poorly
drained and overfertilized turf. Generally, patches begin to appear in
early to mid-October in Arkansas as temperatures cool and zoysiagrass
slows growth before going into winter dormancy. Patches start as circular,
discolored areas. At times, the borders of the patches will be orange, which
indicates that the disease is active. The orange border consists of newly
infected plants where the lower leaves are just starting to die as the fungus
invades and kills the leaf sheath below the blades.

"The grass and the disease are dormant during the winter, but dis­
eased areas are more sensitive to cold injury. As the grass begins growth in
the spring during March or April, the patches become very visible against a
background of healthy green grass, and they may increase in size if condi­
tions are favorable for disease. The dead-looking centers of the
patches will appear thin and sunken and may be invaded by weeds. Patches
vary in size and shape, but tend to be circular and may reach 20 feet in
diameter. Disease progress slows as temperatures rise during the spring,
and the patches gradually become filled in by new growth during the
summer.

"....the disease is not known to kill stolons or roots. Once the disease is suppressed by high temperatures, stolons will form new shoots and the patch will start to recover and eventually disappear during the summer. The disease is more severe on zoysiagrass that has been mowed at less
than 1-inch height. Because the fungus survives during the summer in thatch and grass, anything that moves this material will scatter the fungus
around. Mowing, aerating and sod transplanting all move the fungus to new areas.

"Disease Control:
Rhizoctonia large patch disease is made worse by close mowing, overwatering and early- or late-season nitrogen applications. Any successful control program will have to address these issues."
[End quote].

There's lots, lots more useful info in the article to battle large patch.

By the way, if the above link ever breaks, one can just search Google for some of the key sentences above to find the article's new link.

This post was edited by ZoysiaSod on Mon, May 5, 14 at 8:49


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RE: What is this brown circle?

That lawn looks like Bermuda, if so, it will be Spring Dead Spot.


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RE: What is this brown circle?

"The main points are there are no fungicides available on the market to homeowners for combatting large patch disease. The fungicides are available for sale only to companies (not homeowners)--must be toxic stuff." ---------------------- Anyone can buy fungicides for large patch, you do not have to be a professional. Most towns have a JD landscape nearby or other landscape stores that carry Heritage, Armada and others. You can also buy online from retailers. Check NC State's section on large patch here http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/diseases/Large_Patch.aspx


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RE: What is this brown circle?

NClawnguy, I guess the laws in Arkansas are stricter than in North Carolina regarding the Heritage fungicide and other fungicides for large patch. Here's a direct quote from the 3 professors:

"There are no effective fungicides packaged and sold for homeowner use. For homeowners with Rhizoctonia large patch in their lawns, try the
cultural controls listed above, and if these do not control the disease, then contact a professional lawn service about applying one of the commercial
fungicides at the proper times."

Each state is different apparently. Some more concerned about the environment and human health than others, I guess :-)

Doesn't Arkansas call itself "The Natural State?" I think I've seen them use those words in tourism commercials.

This post was edited by ZoysiaSod on Mon, May 5, 14 at 12:16


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RE: What is this brown circle?

Each state is different apparently. Some more concerned about the environment and human health than others, I guess :-) ------------------ Was that a dig at me? The fact is you can buy Heritage or Armada in AR, and it is proven to work based on university test trials. Just because you cannot buy at large box store doesn't mean it is not available. Please leave your personal opinions to yourself. There is an organic section here, this was posted in general lawn care.


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RE: What is this brown circle?

There was no dig at you. There was a good-natured dig at state laws. A sense of humor is helpful online since there is no face-to-face contact to judge intonation :-)

In answer to your other point, this is not an organic versus synthetic issue. There are plenty of dangerous organic substances too :-)


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RE: What is this brown circle?

I think I have Fescue grass but not 100%.

FESCUE, not zoysia.

Having said that I won't rule out Rhizoctonia among the possible culprits. Many different fungal species cause "Fairy Rings" in lawns. Some just result in a ring of mushrooms and some wipe out everything in the ring.

There is an organic approach that has worked for me in my St Augustine for years. I use ordinary whole ground corn meal (grocery store or feed store) at a rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet over the entire lawn. Corn attracts a beneficial fungus called trichoderma (try koh DER mah). The trichoderma fungus feeds on other fungi including many disease causing fungi. When you apply it takes about 3 full weeks before you see results. First thing you should see is no more grass dying and new grass coming in and remaining green.

How much do you water? How frequently and for how long?


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RE: What is this brown circle?

I don't think that's fescue. The color isn't a very dark green and the leaf blades look finer than tall fescue. He has not had the weather conditions for brown patch. Fairy ring usually has a ring of lush grass around the outside edge and hydrophobic wilting/dead grass just inside of that usually at warmer temperatures. Spring dead spot usually starts much smaller than that spot appears to be.


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RE: What is this brown circle?

Looks like Bermuda that just hasn't been cut short enough! I have the same problem with my yard and it's not the first time. Mine eventually cured itself after several aerations and water. The great thing about Bermuda is its ability to spread pretty fast when cut low. Of course it's too early in the growing season to be aerating Bermuda.


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RE: What is this brown circle?

I have a question about the timing of corn meal on warm season grasses for large / brown patch control. What time in the summer or fall would you apply your corn meal?


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RE: What is this brown circle?

In W V we get brown circles and they are called fairy rings. It Is a fungus, the ag man said to use bleach and water and spray the area every outher day for about a week. I beleave the mix was 1/2 cup bleach to 1 gal water.


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