Red Thread Lawn Disease

Red Thread Lawn Disease – A Serious Disease, But Not Too Serious

One of my favorite diseases is Red Thread as it is one of the easiest disease to identify.  What makes it so is the pinkish-red color that is an indicator of its activity.  Upon careful examination, you may see a thin antler-like structure protruding through the tip of the leaf blade, which may resemble a tiny thread.  This is how the disease gets its one of its names – Red Thread.  There is a similar disease, Pink Patch, that develops masses of pink fungal hyphae in the thatch or on the leaf blades.  Both of these diseases can occur at the same time.

Red Thread can develop in both spring and fall, but it is generally considered a late spring disease.  Temperatures that favor its development is between 40 to 70 degrees with long evening dew periods.  It has long been associated with weak, under-nourished turf, it can quickly develop even on well managed turf as well.  The spores of the disease remain in the thatch during none-active periods and will begin to develop when conditions are right.

The damage that Red Thread causes can be unsightly, but the symptoms are temporary as the disease does not affect the crown or roots.  Many times, a supplemental lawn fertilization will help the turf “grow out” of the disease and it will return to normal in a short period of time.  Disease control treatments are usually not necessary as once the disease activity is seen, it is basically run its course and the turf will recover on its own.  If it is a re-occurring problem, a spring application of a disease control material may be recommended.