‘Sweaty’ weather brings red alert
2nd Aug 2019
Our turf experts around the UK say this year they’re seeing more Red thread on lawns than ever before after high temperatures and significant rainfall produced ideal conditions for it to thrive.
Red Thread is the most common disease encountered on domestic lawns. It is a soil-borne fungus, Laetisaria fuciformis, and the visible signs above ground are the fruiting body of the disease. It can occur at any time of the year but typically symptoms are most visible during humid, damp conditions.
Brown patches appear on affected lawns, sometimes with a red tinge, which then become lighter. On close inspection, very fine red threads can be seen on the leaves, which give the disease its name. This is the early stage of the disease; once it matures it produces pink ‘candy floss’ type clumps that will produce spores. These can be spread by shoes, lawn mowers, water and other items moved around the grass. The types of grass which are most affected by Red thread are fine-bladed leaf species such as fescues and bentgrass, but all grass species can be affected. It does not kill grass as it affects the leaf, not the root, but left to develop it can cause significant damage.
Newly laid turf? Be on red alert!
One of reasons why it develops can be as a result of nutrient deficiency, especially when homeowners have laid new turf. These lawns tend to have a higher proportion of fine-leaved grasses in them, and being watered regularly, the grass becomes deficient of nutrients. Our turf experts recommend applying a feed almost as soon as new turf has been laid which is high in a nutrient that is beneficial for root development. This makes the plant much stronger overall, increasing its resistance to Red thread and other turf diseases. We also advise customers to avoid overwatering or cutting their grass too short as it stresses the plant making it more susceptible to disease attacks.
Prevention is better than cure
The good news is that Red thread does not kill the grass as it does not affect the roots, and the patches recover if the problem is identified and appropriate action taken. Our turf professionals have identified and treated Red thread on golf courses and sports pitches, and they know that prevention is better than cure. They often see Red thread in poor quality, unmanaged lawns they’re visiting for the first time and they can help homeowners minimise the risk of turf diseases by applying high-quality fertilisers at the right time, in the right way, and by carrying out good cultural practices such as scarifying and aeration which aid good drainage. When overseeding, they use professional-quality grass cultivars which are bred for improved disease resistance.
If you think Red thread might be a problem in your lawn, contact your local Lawn Master today and arrange your free lawn analysis.