How to Get Rid of Red Thread in your Lawn

Category: Lawn Care

red threadA common lawn care problem in the late spring and early summer months is a turf disease called “Red Thread”. This disease typically appears in our area between late April and mid June, but can possibly be found during most of the growing season. The time we see it most likely is in the months of May and June when nighttime temperatures are hanging around 70° F and lawns have aggressively grown, using up most of the nitrogen in the soil.

What does Red Thread look like?

From a distance, Red Thread appears as pink to red patches from 4″ to 2 ft. in diameter. When observed more closely, you will see the reddish thread-like fungal structures on grass plants. When there is dew present on the lawn, you may even see small pink tufts on these spots as well. As the fungus grows, smaller spots may turn into larger ones as they connect together to form larger irregularly-shaped areas.

How do I get rid of Red Thread disease?

red threadAlmost any lawn is susceptible to this turf fungus. However, it isn’t uncommon for some lawns to have more issues than neighboring properties. Property owners often wonder what can be done to get rid of Red Thread on lawns when it shows up each year. The remedy is to disrupt the disease triangle so that this fungus stops growing. The disease triangle is used to illustrate how fungi grows on plants, in this particular case, your lawn. The susceptible host are grass plants that are lacking in nitrogen and have started to not grow as aggressively as they have in the months prior. The pathogen is present in the thatch layer of a lawn and impossible to completely remove. When the plant is weak, and the temperature and relative humidity is favorable, Red Thread will begin and continue to grow.

Since it’s not possible to remove the pathogen nor control the weather, the most effective way to get rid of Red Thread is to address the susceptible host plant. Fertilizing lawns in late spring and early summer will help to provide nitrogen. As that nitrogen gets watered in, most lawns will grow-out this specific turf disease problem. That being said, there are instances where Red Thread can become a chronic problem or advance past normal levels and a fungicide treatment may be required. This isn’t typical, but it can happen.
red thread close upHaving a properly executed lawn care program and a lawn care company that employs true lawn care experts can help with your Red Thread issues. Lawn care programs that deliver a steady amount of nitrogen throughout the year, particularly in the times of probably infection, will help your grass to push out this specific disease. Your lawn expert can also let you know if your situation would warrant the extra help of a lawn disease control treatment for Red Thread. Some turf diseases are aggravated by excessive fertilization so be sure to have an expert diagnose which disease your lawn is facing before fertilizing your lawn. If you need help diagnosing or treating a turf disease or other lawn care problem, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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