You may be seeing pinkish-red patches that seem to have settled on some, if not a large portion of your garden. It may seem innocuous enough and may almost look like garden decor, but don’t be fooled and look a little closer. It could actually be a fungal disease called the Red Thread.
So, how then do you get rid of it? The best way to rid your lawn of this disease is by consistently applying the best gardening practices on how to keep your lawn grass strong and healthy. Things like watering your plants properly, providing more sunlight, and even applying fungicide are just some of the necessary steps you have to take to arrest any possible reinfection and altogether prevent it from recurring.
What Does Red Thread Look like Up Close?
A lawn hit by red thread disease may have red patches that grow anywhere from 4 inches to 2 feet in diameter. A closer inspection would reveal pink to reddish thread-like fungal strands that have attached themselves to the tips of your green grass. You will also find pink tuffs that look like little bits of cotton sitting on top of the red strands. These tiny spots grow, and then they start to connect with each other to become bigger spots.
When Does It Usually Occur, and How Do You Confirm It Is Red Thread?
This disease happens from late spring going into the early months of summer. That would be sometime in April and into the middle of June. It may also occur in the fall or in the winter.
Red thread hits during the growing season, as it is especially aggressive in cool, wet, and extended overcast conditions. This plant affliction steals nitrogen from the soil, of which your grass becomes deprived, resulting in nitrogen deficiency. Additional descriptions of red threads in later stages are as shown below:
- They are irregular in shape, as they appear in straw-like patches around 2-3 inches in diameter.
- In the late stages of the disease, it looks brittle and acquires antler-shaped strands that stretch ¼ inch on top of grass tips.
- Sometimes, a gelatinous growth on top of grass blades may also show up.
What Are the Causes of Red Thread?
The causes for red thread growing on your lawn is mostly environmental. The fungus from where it originates is called Laetisaria fuciformis. The disease is further exacerbated when the weather is wet and cold.
Other causes may also be:
- High humidity and too much moisture in the air.
- Too much thatch in the yard
- When the lawn is weakened because of the lack of nutrients in the soil is when the disease attacks.
- No sunlight
- Less than fertile soil
- And too much traffic
How to Remove Red Thread in your Lawn
Quick Fix: Control the Outbreak and Repair Your Lawn
First, you can try to control the outbreak by using fungicide. You may head over to your nearest garden supplier within your area and ask for advice regarding the best fungicide that is applicable to your type of lawn. Applying fungicide is acceptable, but you can actually do away with it if you have good preventive measures that you do on a regular basis.
Most fungicide preparations come with instructions on how to apply them to your yard. So, take care to follow the instructions on the label. Although it may not be a permanent solution, the right fungicide and strategy can reduce or even eliminate the spread.
Apply a broad-spectrum fungicide to stop the infection and prevent reinfection for about a month. Apply the fungicide when the temperatures are between 60 to 75 F. Reapply as needed depending on the size and severity of the outbreak. You may go ahead and use a seed repair solution for damaged areas after killing the fungus.
The Best Course of Action Is to Maintain Your Lawn and Keep it Healthy
Long Term Solution:
Since disease attacks when your grass is weak or lacking in nutrition, the best solution to fungal problems aside from applying chemicals is to kill the source and prevent it from happening by taking good care of your yard. In other words, you can not control how the fungus latches onto your grass, nor can you control your environment’s temperatures.
What you can do, however, is to ensure that your grass doesn’t attract fungus and other pests by keeping them strong and healthy. The healthier your grass is, the stronger is its resistance.
Here are the steps on how to get rid of red thread and prevent it from coming back:
1.Mow your grass correctly and regularly
An overgrowth of your lawn grass invites pests and other turfgrass diseases. Ensure cutting your grass to the recommended length according to your grass type. Do not cut more than 1/3 of your leaf blade in a single mowing.
2.Leave grass clippings to be used as mulch.
Mulch is a combination of organic materials placed above the soil to conserve moisture and improve fertility. Grass clippings that you just mowed should be included in the mix. Dispose of the diseased grass to avoid reinfection.
3.Water your lawn properly
Water your lawn before 10 am for maximum absorption of moisture into the soil. Keeping the roots well hydrated and watering for longer periods of time with less frequency. It is actually more beneficial than watering for short periods of time with more frequency. That is the proper way to water your lawn.
4.Apply quick-release nitrogen fertilizer
Follow the instructions on the label or ask your garden technician.
5.Prune surrounding trees to expose your yard to more sunlight.
Shade and moisture increase the chances of fungus settling on your grass. Sunlight also provides the energy for your grass to convert it into vital elements to produce cellulose, a component for building plant cell walls. Stronger cell walls mean stronger grass.
6.Fertilize your soil
Have your soil tested to identify what nutrients are lacking in it. Then, add the fertilizer that your soil needs to grow strong and sturdy grass.
7.Cultivate and Aerate compacted soil
Compact soil prevents healthy lateral and vertical growth of the roots. Punching holes through the soil by aeration helps oxygen and nutrients get into the roots faster and better, hence a healthier plant.
8.Remove excess thatching.
Thatching is that dead organic matter that layers between the soil and your grass. A thin layer of thatch about 2 inches thick is suitable for your yard. It helps keep the soil moist and protects against fluctuations in temperature that could weaken your grass. On the other hand, excessive thatching can attract disease and other pests that can destroy your lawn.
Weeds rob your grass of nutrients that can also weaken them. Do not allow weeds to compete for water, soil, and sunlight against your turfgrass. Remove them by hand, or you can use other effective methods.
10.Call In the Experts for Help
If you find your lawn being invaded by disease and pests, but you are pressed for time? No worries, you can always contact your local garden expert. Hire a professional to keep your lawn healthy, strong, and disease-free.
Curing your yard off of this fungal malady may seem difficult at first. But come to think of it, you only have to do what is normal for your turfgrass to keep it disease-resistant and healthy. The key is to just maintain your lawn the proper way, and you should see less, and less of this problem happen again.
Eric West is the founder of improvethelawn.com and has been blogging since 2009. His mission is to make lawn care and landscaping easy for everyone.