Conditions favorable for Brown Patch
Beautiful weather and pleasant cool temperatures have made their way into the Florida panhandle in the last week. They will not stay long. It will be scorching hot again this year before the relief of fall settles in for good. As nice as the weather has been, it could cause problems for lawns in the panhandle. Temperatures below 80° F with moisture from rainfall can be a trigger for Brown Patch, also known as Large Patch.
The disease damages the turf by rotting the lower portion of the grass blade. When inspected closely and smelled, Brown Patch has a rotted odor associated. The disease does not affect the roots of the grass but will totally rot the base of the leaf and eventually kill the entire leaf. Patches generally die out in a 1 foot diameter area and move out from there.
Some homeowners apply a fall application of fertilizer this time of year to “winterize” their lawns. Excess nitrogen can exacerbate the problem during times of favorable conditions. Many of the “winterizer” fertilizer on the market have a high percentage of nitrogen; so avoid these fertilizers this time of year. Choose a fertilizer with little to no nitrogen but a high percentage of potassium to encourage strong root growth headed into winter.
For more information regarding the disease, read this University of Florida/IFAS publication: Large Patch by M. L. Elliott and P. F. Harmon