Hello. I live in Annapolis Maryland and am struggling with my lawn this...

Asked July 9, 2013, 10:55 AM EDT

Hello. I live in Annapolis Maryland and am struggling with my lawn this summer. I maintain my lawn weekly with scheduled feedings, aeration, etc. throughout the year. This year, however, I'm seeing a lot of "brown". I tested the pH in April and got a reading of 6.5. The Nitrogen was deficient so I have made a few applications of N at approximately 1.5 pounds per 1000 sq ft since April (using Scotts Turf Builder) with the most recent fertilization in mid June. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

Anne Arundel County Maryland

3 Responses

Your lawn has brown patches of fungal disease are caused by over-fertilization. We do not recommend fertilizing in the spring for that very reason: spring fertilizing is not necessary and often leads to fungal disease. In this case, brown patch disease.
Tall fescue is very resistant to disease and rarely gets brown patch. When spring is dry, a homeowner may get away with fertilizing in the spring and not suffer lawn disease. However, when we have a wet spring (and most springs are wet) they are liable to get brown patch or other fungal disease. Your lawn is suffering from too much fertilizer. Fortunately, brown patch does not usually kill the roots of your turf and, especially with this good grass-growing weather, your turf should recover.

The University has always recommended annual fertilization in the fall. Now, the Maryland Fertilizer Use Act limits total nitrogen fertilizer to 2.7 lbs. of nitrogen per thousand square feet per year. This is being done to prevent runoff into the Bay, because nitrogen and phosphorus are responsible for creating dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay.

We'd recommend that you make all your fertilizer applications in the fall. There is information on the Fertilizer Use Act in our website's Publications, in the Lawn category.

Thanks for the quick response. So my follow up question is should I use a fungicide to remedy the brown patches now or just wait until the fall and overseed/fertilize then?

It is actually too late for a fungicide application to be very effective. If necessary reseed/repair the areas in the early fall.