Turfgrass disease prevention Q&A: Brown ring patch

By Lisa Beirn, Ph.D., technical services manager for Syngenta

Brown ring patch primarily affects annual bluegrass putting green turf and becomes more active in the early spring and summer as daytime temperatures increase. As it starts to warm up, be in the know about brown ring patch, how to accurately diagnose it and preventive measures to take that will keep your turf staying healthy all season long.

What is brown ring patch?

Brown ring patch also referred to as Waitea patch, is caused by the pathogen Waitea circinata. The name can be somewhat misleading as symptoms closely resemble those of yellow patch. Brown ring patch symptoms mostly appear as solitary or clusters of yellow rings that often have a "scalloped" appearance. Rings can range from several inches to a foot in diameter. Over time, the rings become necrotic with sunken margins, which create a bumpy playing surface.

To quickly diagnose brown ring patch versus yellow patch, check for mycelium by placing a sample of infected turf in a container or plastic bag overnight. If the sample has mycelium on the foliage, soil or thatch in the morning, brown ring patch is present.

When does brown ring patch occur?

Disease symptoms usually appear in spring or early summer when air temperatures are between 60-75 F, skies are overcast and rain is present. Symptoms may disappear during the summer only to reappear in the fall when the weather is conducive for disease development. Sign up for soil temperature alerts to receive personalized alerts on potential pest activity and access 10 years of soil temperature archives.

Which turf species are affected by brown ring patch?

Brown ring patch primarily affects Poa annua golf course greens. The disease can occasionally be seen on collars, fairways and roughs.

What are some good management tips?

While affected turf normally recovers with the advent of sunny and dry weather, the application of a small amount of water-soluble nitrogen (0.125-0.25 lb. N/1,000 ft.²) will promote recovery. When rings are numerous and objectionable, an application of an appropriate fungicide may be warranted.

What type of control methods are available?

If there is a history of brown ring patch, it is best to combat the disease with a preventive fungicide application on greens and tees. Depending on the climate and spring warmup, preventive fungicide applications should generally occur between March 15 and June 1Tuque™ exoGEM™ fungicide, the latest fungicide offering from Syngenta for the golf market, provides outstanding control of brown ring patch when applied at 1.5 fl. oz. 

Other fungicides that provide effective control include, Briskway® fungicide applied at 0.9 fl. oz., Heritage® Action™ fungicide applied at 0.4 oz., and Posterity® XT fungicide at 1.5 fl. oz. Multiple applications may be required, especially if applying on a curative basis

Download the product efficacy chart to see how these products measure up.

For more information about brown ring patch, contact your local Syngenta territory manager.

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