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How to Identify and Treat Red Thread Lawn Disease

April 26, 2023
How to Identify and Treat Red Thread Lawn Disease
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A red thread is just one of many lawn diseases that can quickly get out of control if left untreated. At Earth Development, we work with businesses across the Midwest to maintain healthy lawns, and our deep knowledge of red thread lawn disease means our clients enjoy healthier greener lawns.

Let’s take a look at how you can spot this disease, how to prevent it, and how to treat it.

What Is Red Thread Lawn Disease?

The red thread disease is a kind of lawn fungus infection that affects grass and turf. It is technically a corticoid fungus known as “Laetisaria fuciformis,” and the disease occurs in two different stages.

The first stage creates thin, needle-like strands of fungus that extend from the blade of the grass. These can remain in the soil for around two years. However, after the fungus germinates, there is a secondary disease that creates tiny pink fungus. This typically occurs when the grass has been exposed to high humidity and moisture.

What Does Red Thread Lawn Disease Look Like

While this disease is defined by tiny, needle-like threads, it doesn’t mean it’s not visible from afar. A large amount of red fungus in grass means you can often see this from far away. As you get closer, you will see tiny red threads that protrude from individual blades of grass, mainly near the tip.

The presence of these red threads means that the fungus has been there for some time, as this is the final stage of the fungal activity. Soon, the threads break off from the grass and then create spores that allow the fungus to reinfect the grass or blow onto another patch of grass.

The second stage of this disease, if the grass has been exposed to high moisture levels, looks more like pink cotton wool that sits in between individual blades of grass.

What Kind Of Grass Is Prone To Red Thread Fungus

Technically all kinds of turfgrass are prone to developing the growth of the red thread grass fungus, but there are some kinds of grass that appear to be more likely to be affected.

These include:

  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Fescues
  • Bermudagrass
  • Bentgrass

Whether you have these kinds of turfgrass or any other, it’s important to understand how to prevent developing this strange grass with red tips and what you can do if you ever notice it on your lawn.

red on Bentgrass

What Causes Red Thread Disease

There are three main causes of red or pink thread – though, any grass can easily be infected with this fungus if the spores are carried by the wind or an animal onto your lawn.

Poor Quality Soil

First of all, poor quality soil makes it more likely that this fungus will infect your grass. The more biologically active your soil, the less likely you will suffer from this problem.

However, poorly fertilized soil is an ideal environment for fungus to grow, especially if it is exposed to a large amount of moisture. This is just one reason why lawn fertilization is so important.

Unhealthy Grass

If your grass is not healthy, and if it is living in poorly fertilized soil, it can be more susceptible to fungus and other diseases.

Again, this is a reason why proper fertilization is important and why you should take appropriate care of your lawn. Poorly-kept grass is less resilient, easily infected, and could soon die and leave your lawn brown and patchy.

Bad Watering Habits

Finally, remember that your watering habits have a huge impact on your grass. The fungus prefers a wet environment – and if your lawn is wet, but the roots of your grass are dry, you’re asking for fungus to grow.

Watering too often or too late in the day is a sure-fire way to develop a fungal infection in your lawn.

Watering a lawn already infected with red thread will also make the fungal infection worse. Proper aeration of your soil and watering earlier in the day can help prevent this fungus from growing.

How to Cure Red Thread Lawn Disease

While prevention is always the best way to deal with lawn disease, sometimes, you just need to know how to cure the problem. Our teams of local lawn maintenance experts at Earth Development know how to get rid of red thread in lawns quickly and effectively, but if you would like to tackle the problem on your own, know that this process can take a matter of weeks.

Fungicide treatment is the most effective way to deal with this problem and must be spread on the lawn actively for as long as four weeks. Doing this over a prolonged period of time is necessary to ensure that the grass grows more quickly than the disease can spread.

Combined with mowing, the infected grass will soon be replaced with non-infected grass, and the fungicide will kill off the existing fungus.

People often ask, “will lawn fungus go away on its own” and in most cases, the answer is no.

How to Control Red Thread Disease

Here are some more tips for maintaining a healthy lawn and preventing the red thread from developing throughout the year.

Avoid Overwatering

Overwatering is one of the most common causes of fungal spread in lawns. Avoid watering during cool and cloudy days, too, as this increases the amount of time that your turf stays wet.

Check the pH Levels

Ensure that your soil maintains a reading of between 6.3 and 6.7 to help reduce the chances of the fungus spreading – or hire experts to do this for you.

Use Quality Fertilizer

Fertilizer helps your lawn grow. This means your grass is healthier and more resilient, but it also means that the grass can grow new blades more quickly than the fungus can infect it. The key is ensuring sufficient nitrogen and adequate moisture to promote new growth.

Our team at Earth Development can help you choose the best fertilizer for red thread and specific kinds of grass.

Use Quality Fertilizer

Protect Your Lawn with the Help of Local Landscaping Experts

We know that maintaining a healthy lawn can be tough. That’s why our team at Earth Development helps businesses throughout the Midwest manage and maintain their lawns and outdoor spaces. We provide professional landscaping services at great prices.

For more advice or for a free quote, call the Earth Development team today on (920) 406-7501.

Eddy Zakes
Eddy is a distinguished expert in the snow removal and landscaping industry, boasting over 20 years of experience. As an Advanced Snow Manager certified by the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA), he is dedicated to upholding the highest industry standards. His strong commitment to excellence and relentless pursuit of improvement makes him a trusted voice in the snow removal and landscaping.
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