Help us achieve our goals:
make a donation »
Join the RHS today and
support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
Join the RHS today and support our charity
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
Take-all is a fungal disease of lawns, particularly those with a high percentage of fine bentgrasses (Agrostis spp.). It causes brown patches of grass, most often in summer when the turf is under drought stress.
Take-all patch is caused by a fungus, Gaeumannomyces graminis, which is found commonly in soil. The disease is very damaging to bentgrasses (Agrostis species). Most turf initially contains a fairly low percentage of bentgrass (usually browntop bent, Agrostis tenuis), but the proportions of the different grass species can change with time. Expect to see damage from mid-summer until autumn.
The same fungus also causes a serious root and foot rot disease of cereal crops.
These symptoms are seen most often in summer, especially if the lawn comes under drought stress.
You may see the following symptoms:
Take-all patch can be difficult to eradicate once it has developed. Over time, there may be a build-up within the soil of micro-organisms antagonistic to the take-all fungus, resulting in lower disease levels (a phenomenon known as ‘take-all decline’). In practice, however, it may be better (and certainly quicker) to over-seed affected areas with ryegrass or fescues.
Scarifying the turf with a lawn rake or electric scarifier in autumn will remove thatch and moss and increase aeration. Poor drainage and compacted areas can be alleviated by forking or by the use of a solid-tine or hollow-tine aerator. Ensure that the lawn is growing strongly by applying adequate (but not excessive) fertiliser. The pH of alkaline soils can be reduced by using acidifying fertilisers such as ammonium sulphate.
There are no fungicides available to home gardeners for the control of take-all. Some lawn maintenance companies offer treatment with a professional fungicide, but there is strict legislation controlling the application of professional products to domestic gardens. You will therefore need to satisfy yourself that the company is operating within the law.
The development of take-all patch is favoured by alkaline soil conditions. A soil may be naturally alkaline, but the pH can also be increased by liming, top dressing with a material with high lime content or even by irrigating with hard (alkaline) water.
Poor drainage can lead to rapid spread of the disease, but soils with a high sand content are also very prone to attack. Excessive thatch can also lead to problems by increasing moisture levels.
Disposing of diseased materialFairy ringsFusarium patch and Snow mouldLawns: autumn careLawns: dead patchesLawns: dry patchMoss in lawnsRed threadSlime moulds on lawns
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9