Red thread grass: identification and treatment
Red Thread Grass is the most common disease lawns can suffer from, it lives in compacted soils that are lacking nitrogen and are set off by humid conditions any time of the year, but mainly from May through to early October depending on how mild the Autumn is.
It can survive in the soil for up to 2 years and can be spread by several methods, Airbourne, waterborne, dirty tools and shoes. If you have used any tools on affected areas, then to prevent the spread of the disease, thoroughly clean the tools after use.
Red Thread Grass is caused by a fungus (Laetisaria fuciformis), the first symptoms of this disease will be the appearance of small pink coloured particles looking like candy floss, followed by thin strands growing like thread, that are a pink/red in colour, then eventually turning a light straw colour to almost bleached. The patches can vary in size from a small circle up to larger areas.
The lawn may look like it is suffering from lack of water or feed, but on closer inspection, it is actually Red Thread.
As one cause of Red Thread Grass is due to the soil lacking nitrogen, it is good to put in place a regular feeding plan for the year starting with a Spring feed such as Miracle-Gro® EverGreen® Soluble Lawn Food or Miracle-Gro® EverGreen® Fast Green and then finish the year with an Autumn feed.
Lawns that suffer from compaction and poor drainage are more susceptible to Red Thread as well, so it is a good idea to aerate the lawn as this will create holes to aid drainage, air circulation and making it easier for lawn feeds to get down to the roots.
Scarifying the lawn to remove thatch and moss will also aid with air circulation and remove any affected debris, but make sure that this is not composted and disposed of. This applies for any grass clippings too, as if this goes into the compost, it will spread the disease. There are a limited number of products on the market for gardeners to use, otherwise, you may wish to hire a professional company to come in and carry out a treatment using professional products.