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Red Thread Disease of Lawns - Laetisaria fuciformis Fungal Disease.

Red Thread Disease of Lawns

Red Thread normally attacks lawns made of fine grasses such as the Fescues, and some Ryegrasses. It is more likely on turf that is rarely - if ever - fed! Again we are back to a good maintenance regime to prevent this particular disease.

Identifying Red Thread Disease

It is the most likely of the fungal diseases to cause brown patches, and is easily identified. The light brown patches will be noticed first, and on inspection, you will notice distinct signs of the fungi which gives this lawn disease the common name of Red Thread. The first stage of infection, will result in red threads reaching out from the dead blades of grass.

These can remain active in the lawn soil for two years. Afterwards, there will be signs of a fluffy pinkish growth. Initially the affected areas will be yellowish brown patches. If not treated, then these will spread to join up across the lawn.

It is usually a problem on such lawns in the year following a hot, dry summer. Normally in moist periods, there will be the tell-tale signs of the red threads.

In the late autumn months, look for patches of bleached out grass which will have small red or pink rigid growths in moist weather conditions. The areas start as small as 1in across - soon spreading.

Red Thread Disease

Whilst the fungus - Laetisaria fuciformis is the fungus that causes the disease of Red Thread. It used to carry the name of Corticium disease. This is a mix up along the way, in that Laetisaria fuciformis is a member of the greater Corticium group of fungi.

In the growing season, Red Thread disease can be kept under control - even eradicated - by a good feeding regime for the lawn. This will strengthen the grasses and help a lot in negating the Red Thread disease.

After feeding, the affected areas often turn into straw-like grasses. These will soon be removed by normal mowing. The grass will return to its 'normal' green colour.

Copyright - PennState Agricultural College - Plant Science Dept.

Prevention and Control of Red Thread Disease

Red Thread patch disease overwinters on diseased and dead grass material. Thatch in the lawn is a good home for its winter stay. It is easily spread across the lawn by mowing or other cultural operations, or even foot traffic - especially in the winter months and early spring.

Where the lawn has a high Ryegrass content, the disease can take a hold more quickly and cause more problems. It is one of the fungal diseases of lawns that is particularly partial to Ryegrass - Lolium perenne. Most other lawn diseases are more prevalent on finer turf grasses. Nevertheless, Red Thread Patch can take hold in all manner of grasses used in normal domestic and commercial turf areas.

At first signs treat with Carbendazim Lawn fungicide (Carbendazim has recently been banned in the United Kingdom. CastClear is the new approved treatment). Follow this up in the spring with a high Nitrogen lawn Fertilizer (URPril™ or MOOWY | Year-round lawn feed will be appropiate) - NOT in the autumn. However, spiking and top-dressing can/should take place in the autumn. Care for your fine grass lawn and it will rarely if ever be a problem.

It should be realised, that whilst a high Nitrogenous feed will undoubtedly help in keeping Red Thread Patch at bay, it can also cause other problems if overdone. The resultant lush lawn from over-application of Nitrogen feeds will levae it susceptible to other fungal diseases. It is all a matter of balance.

Regular feeding and lawncare go a long way in combating Red Thread Disease in lawns. In particular a well fed - but not overfed - lawn that is regularly aerated when required, and is not home to years of thatch will rarely suffer from this turf disease.

Be careful when using these products - They are dangerous to pond fish. Do not spray directly into the water or a run off into the pond.


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