Of all grass diseases red thread lawn fungus is the most common. In fact I would pretty much bet that your lawn has it every year and you more than likely have never noticed.
The disease or fungus causes the grass leaf (not the grass plant) to die often giving the lawn a blotchy appearance. Whilst the disease is active the blotches will have a pink colouration and on closer inspection you will see 2mm long pink threads or needles.
Red thread attacks from May onwards favouring humid and mild weather. Early and late summer temperatures with a dewy grass are ideal though the drying effect of summer on your lawn can disguise the disease leading most people to assume wrongly that the lawn is just suffering from drought.
Very wet summers also present ideal conditions. In these years the red thread fungus has been very obvious as the pinky or orangey blotches have formed in otherwise healthy green lawns.
Red thread is often accompanied by another disease or fungus known as pink patch. This appears at the same time but presents itself as tiny pin head size blobs a bit like candy floss.
Some lawns will be affected more than others. The following conditions may increase severity of attack:
- Old or compacted lawns
- Young lawns that have not had chance to build up resistance
- Lawns that become stressed due to drought, heat or water logging
- Lawns that have little air movement and hold the dew well into the day
- Lawns that are watered - light frequent watering in the evening in warm weather will guarantee an attack!
- Late spring scarifying thereby weakening the grass and making it more susceptible to an early summer disease
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Apply a fungicide to kill the disease, but this will only have a 6-8week lasting effect, so it may well be required to treat more than once within a season.
Don’t water for short periods at night, instead water early mornings for longer periods of time i.e. 3-4 times per week for 40-60mins.
Maintain a regular treatment program for your lawn, as prevention is always better than cure
Consider applying a preventative fungicide the following season, as treatment prior to attack is the best way to control this disease. Treat too early and the fungicide runs out of steam and too late defeats the goal of prevention..!
Q & A’s
Q: Will Applying a Fungicide mean I will never get Red Thread Again?
No – The fungicide only has a 6 – 8 week lasting effect. So any disease could come back. But we recommend that also treating with fertiliser at the same time the fungicide is applied, to get nutrition in the soil for the grass to pick up…. We would also recommend adding a soil conditioner as well to stimulate the microbes in the soil.
Q: How long will I need to stay off the grass?
With all our spray treatments we always advise to keep of the grass until they are dry.
Q: It’s raining will you still apply the treatment?
No – as the treatment will not be effective
Q: What should I expect to see?
After we have applied the fungicide, the fungus will be stopped within roughly 2wks. Then as the grass naturally grows new sward the colour will slowly come back. Only in very exceptional cases will there be a need to carry out any over seeding.