brown circles on lawn

storey3(NH- Zone 5)June 12, 2007

Can someone help me identify what is going on with my front lawn. We have perfect brown circles that are about 6-10" in diameter spreading all over it. In some places they are connected so it looks pretty bad.

We are trying to shift to organic this summer but haven't yet. We did put down a Lesco fertilizer the second week in May but otherwise nothing. The side of the lawn we used the Lesco with crabgrass preventer in it does not look bad at all. That area is also pretty riddled with weeds of various kinds and will be the focus of upcoming projects. These patches look like they are nearly dead. This problem started a week or so ago. We have had a pretty wet spring so I don't think it can be lack of water but we do not have an irrigation system. I have tried to search and thought it may be "brown patch" but does that come in circles. Oh, the area gets full sun from about 10 or 11 on. I'd love help with a diagnosis and how to treat it, please. Thank you!

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Did those patches turn a darker green and grow faster than the other grass before turning brown? If so, it could be fairy rings.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 8:48PM
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storey3(NH- Zone 5)

No, I'm relatively certain they didn't. My lawn looked great until these started to surface. I looked at pics of fairy rings and I don't think that is it. Thanks for replying.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 9:12PM
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storey3(NH- Zone 5)

I apologize for not posting what type of grass I have but I'm not sure. It was hydroseeded by my contractor when our house was built in 2005. AT one point I had the label but can't seem to locate it. I know it had some KBG but that wasn't the main one. Sorry.

I am leaning more toward brown patch. How can I treat it organically?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 9:28PM
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It sounds like it could be a fungus of some sort. I live in the desert where fungus is only a problem due to bad watering, so I don't know much about fungus problems.

However, from what I've read on these boards, ordinary corn meal can promote beneficial fungi that kill the bad ones. I think it takes a while to work its magic. It should be spread at 10 to 20 lbs per 1000 sq ft. If you have feed stores available, it would be cheaper to buy it there than to buy it at the grocery store.

Baking soda is supposed to be faster, but I don't know if it counts as organic.

You can search this forum for "baking soda fungus" or "corn meal fungus" (without the quotes) to find more information about these.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 11:22PM
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rj_hythloday(8A VA)

I just wanted to post back that after reading on these forums I put corn meal on my brown rings last fall. I also mulched the whole lawn w/ leaves 1/2" thick. I had a few bags of corn chips after cleaning the office fridge and smashed 'em all down in the bag and dumped those all over the area w/ brown rings too.

The rings are all gone, due to the heavy leaf mulch some areas took longer to start new growth and green up, but the lawn looks much better this year, I seeded it my self last year after the hydro seed the builders did in 07 was poorly done and it was mostly weeds and bare patches.

I asked about large bags of corn meal at the seed and feed store, he wanted to sell me corn gluten meal and told me it wouldn't get rid of the brown rings. Well I trusted my friends here over the chemically enhanced seed and feed guy and it worked.

Last year before seeding

I haven't mowed yet this year so I won't be posting pics yet.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 9:35AM
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Fungal disease of grasses do better when there is too much soil moisture then when it is too dry. If you have had a wet spring, like we have had over here, that may be the problem. Given the amount of rain we have had it has not been necessary to supplement water at all since the soil is saturated now.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 8:22AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Corn meal (or cracked corn) usually works for most lawn fungal diseases unless the disease is red thread or rust. The really cool part is you don't have to diagnose what the disease is. Rust and red thread are obvious and the rest of them are relatively ambiguous. So it is good that you don't have to guess about what the disease is.

Corn meal will not work if you have already applied baking soda, sulfur, or other chemical fungicides. Apply at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. In ten days the disease will be dead. In 10 more days you should see the grass turning green again. Note that the process takes 3 weeks. Don't get discouraged.

Also you should apply corn meal to the entire lawn. It is a fertilizer and will turn the grass dark green wherever you apply it. You don't want to have circles of dark green grass.

This sounds so weird that sometimes people want to see the research. It was started in the 90s at Texas A&M at Stephenville. The research was done on peanuts and peanuts happen to get the same diseases as grass (YAY!). The preliminary results showed that it completely cures the fungus problems just like if they had rotated peanuts out for a year.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 6:31PM
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