Is This a Fungus or a Virus?

To our shame, for years, we allowed the front yard to grow wild.

We only cut the grass and whatever else was growing there to keep it trim.

Eventually, everything turned into a mix of weeds (clover, crab crabgrassgrass, etc), and some dirt patches.

We broke down this year and decided to re-do the front yard. We put sodding and re-did the foundation bed - a ton of money. There is more land in front of the house than I care for - but that's just what the house came with.

The landscaping company used Zorro Zoysia grass. Unfortunately, it was a very damp, rainy spring when they did the work - constant rain. Between their less than stellar execution and the dampness, we ended up with some patches of fungus.

We hired a lawn care service because we don't really know what we are doing at this "establishing" stage, and they came in and sprayed. The fungus patches seemed to go away.

But now, something else emerged in a different spot.

An area that was lush green suddenly started to turn brown recently. The lawn service came in and sprayed, but the brown patch is not making much progress.

Would you be able to help us with some opinions on what this is and what we could do about it?

Is it a fungus or a virus? It can't be just dried grass as the rest of the lawn looks good and that path received enough water, just like the rest of the lawn.

If so, should we do some supplementary spraying, in addition to what the weed company is doing? Obviously, whatever they have been doing is not helping much.

Any help would be greatly appreciated - as we are complete novices on lawn care.

Comments (8)

  • dchall_san_antonio
    11 days ago

    Please define "enough water." How much and how often?

    Lawns don't get viruses, so this is a fungal disease. The problem with many zoysia varieties is that they do not come back from a setback like this. I have had zoysia and will never have it again. If you spend a lot of money spraying fungicides, then next April the area will return to normal. If you spend no money, then next April the area will return to normal. But you always live on the edge thinking, is it going to get diseased again this year. One of my old neighbors used to pay to have his annual dead spot cut out and replaced with new sod. There are many different varieties of zoysia, so yours might return.

    Again, how much water is it getting?

    Also, is there any reason to think that area might be a low spot that holds water longer or that other parts of the yard drain through?

  • Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA
    Original Author
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    The spot is on a very slight downward slope so I think it has decent drainage there.

    I can see some green grass starting to grow in there after the lawn care company sprayed, but not a whole lot. We have sprinklers twice a week and it's been raining enough. The amount of water is probably just right.

    Urgh, if I knew Zoysia has a fungus problem we would have opted for something else. I hate spraying all that stuff on it ! Darn it.

    What type of grass doesn't have fungus problems?

  • danielj_2009
    10 days ago

    "What type of grass doesn't have fungus problems?"

    Maybe try astroturf? j/k Seems like there are some southern warm season grasses that are bulletproof. Centipede? I'm not expert on those kinds of lawns though.

  • Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    OK, so what exactly should we spray on this fungus? It's not like we can change this grass any time soon.

    Should we be doing anything else between the visits from the lawn care service?

  • krnuttle
    10 days ago

    It is probably corona virus, since it is appearing every where these days ;-)

  • vanessa wilson
    2 days ago

    I had the same exact thing happen to our sod at 4 weeks when I started to lessen the amount of watering. The "patches" started off as 1 or 2 then slowly spread. We called the place we bought our sod and they sent the sod rep to our house. (A small nursery with great customer service!) He took 1 look & immediately said it was not being watered enough! (I too thought it was a fungus.) You should be able to put a screwdriver into the sod & it should be able to easily go down 6 inches. (He had a fancy gadget, stabbed it into the soil to get a soil sample. When the sample came up, it was crumbled & dried. He said the screwdriver test works as good.) Unfortunately for me, it was too late as those patches had spread everywhere & there was no coming back. I thought the sod guy was trying to hustle me so I called a friend's friend who worked for the county, he also said it was due to under-watering. Our sod was Kentucky Bluegrass. I posted my photo on here too & 2 people said it looked like fungus. Maybe yours is but maybe it isn't? I just wanted to share my story. I wish I had saved my photos.

  • vanessa wilson
    2 days ago

    I went back to my post & found my photos.

  • dchall_san_antonio
    2 days ago

    Underwatering, overwatering, and disease all look the same in zoysia. The screwdriver test is a good one.