University of Maryland Extension

Brown Patch - Lawns

Back to Common Problems - Lawns

brown to tan patches on lawn
Brown patch in tall fescue lawn

Brown patch affects all turfgrass, especially tall fescue, and perennial rye. It is a common summertime disease of cool-season turfgrasses in Maryland.


Circular yellow-brown patches of thinned turf. On individual blades, elongated lesions bordered above and below by tan or chocolate-brown bands.

Close-up of lesion on grass blade.
Brown patch lesions on grass blades

Conditions favoring this disease

  1. Prevalent June-September, when daytime temperatures are 85º or above, nighttime temperatures are above 68º, and relative humidity is high.
  2. Applications of water-soluble nitrogen fertilizer, especially urea, nitrate, or ammonium in late spring-summer increases the chances of a lawn becoming infected with the disease. 


  1. This disease does not kill the crown of the turf. Most tall fescues lawns will recover with proper fall fertilization and the return of rainfall.
  2. Do not plant perennial rye because of susceptibility to brown patch and other serious diseases.
  3. Avoid spring applications of fertilizer.

Additional Resources

Lawn maintenance calendar and fertilizer schedule (PDF) HG 112 Turfgrass Maintenance Calendars for Maryland Lawns.

Also refer to Brown Patch Disease on Maryland Home Lawns

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