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Identifying Large Patch Disease on North Carolina Warm-Season Grasses and How to Protect Your Lawn

Just when fall hits and you think the danger of turf disease is over, lo and behold, here comes Large Patch disease. Suitably named, Large Patch can infect and spread in North Carolina lawns to a size of 10 feet or more. Homeowners become frustrated due to the discoloration of the grass. Untreated, it can lead to severe damage or ultimately kill the turf.

Learn about identifying Large Patch Disease and control methods for your NC lawn.


What is Large Patch Disease?

Large Patch disease is caused by a different strain of the fungus (Rhizoctonia solani) that also causes Brown Patch disease in cool season turf. It starts out as a small circular area, measuring 2-3 feet in diameter, and can rapidly spread from there.

 

Large Patch disease needs to meet the three factors that make up the “disease triangle.” These factors are:

 
  • Host (the susceptible species of grass)

  • Pathogen (the fungus, found in all soils)

  • Environment (factors such as overcast, cool, wet days)

Diagnosing Large Patch Disease in North Carolina

Large Patch appears in the late fall as the soil temperatures cool down below 70 degrees and there is  excessive moisture in the soil. It is particularly prevalent after periods of excessive rain with heavy cloud cover and little sunlight. The disease is common in coastal areas of North Carolina such as Wilmington, but it can also appear in areas farther inland, such as Raleigh.

 

In its different stages of growth, Large Patch disease retains a circular shape. In early stages, activity may cause blades to appear a bronze, orange, or red color. If the disease remains untreated, it will kill the grass blades, leaving large circular brown areas in the lawn.

 

Because the disease is active in the fall, as the turf transitions into dormancy, the symptoms may not be visible until the following spring as the grass starts to green up.  Recovery may take well into the growing season, depending upon the level of damage.

Types of Grass Affected by Large Patch Disease in North Carolina

Learn about identifying Large Patch Disease and control methods for your NC lawn.


It is common to find Large Patch disease on Centipede Grass, as this grass type is more susceptible to it than any other turf. You can also often find this turf disease on Zoysia, St. Augustine, and occasionally in Bermuda.

 

In Wilmington and the Coastal Plains, warm season grasses are common. Farther inland, for instance Raleigh, warms season grasses are still susceptible to Large Patch disease.

Proven Methods for Large Patch Disease Control

Mowing at the recommended height, limiting excessive fertilization and irrigation, are key steps to achieving Large Patch disease control.

 

Water only when necessary. In most cases when Large Patch is active, there has been excessive amounts of moisture. When it hasn’t rained and the soils begin to dry, you can resume irrigation as recommended.

Using Chemicals to Control Large Patch Disease

If untreated, the disease will continue to spread, damaging turf until the conditions that cause the disease have passed. The grass will begin to grow back, repairing itself as the temperatures warm and the grass begins to actively grow.

 

Treating Large Patch disease in North Carolina with fungicides is a management strategy that is offered when cultural practices have not been successful or if the disease is in advanced stages. Lawn care programs typically do not include fungicides in their basic care programs. Consult with your provider to determine the best course of action and the associated costs of treatment.

Finding Help Achieving Large Patch Disease Control

If you are having trouble figuring out if you have Large Patch disease or don’t want to risk going it alone, we can help. Our team works to treat diseases and maintain healthy lawns year-round, anytime assistance is required.

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 A Weed Man turf professional is available to identify and treat Large Patch and other threats that can wreak havoc on your lawn. Our experts can identify the damage that Large Patch can create, and will advise you how to make your lawn green, healthy and weed free.

Learn more about Large Patch disease control for your Raleigh or Wilmington, North Carolina lawn by requesting a free quote.

Image Sources:  large patch disease in centipedegrass, large patch disease
 
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