Fairy Rings: Everything You Need To Know!

green grass

I subscribe to several university newsletters that are dedicated to lawns and landscapes. This year, Ohio State University changed the format of their monthly newsletter to short news flashes about many interesting topics.

The university still publishes their Buckeye Yard & Garden online newsletter, but I do enjoy reading all the brief articles on interesting weeds, insects, diseases and other oddities of nature.

They recently posted a news brief about one of my favorite diseases, Fairy Ring. I always like to learn something new about this annoying, but usually not serious, disease.

Ironically, a Spring-Green Franchise Owner called me today to ask why there seems to be more Fairy Rings this year.

Fairy Ring

Weather has a lot to do with the development of Fairy Ring and how noticeable it is in a home lawn. As the summer becomes drier and the turf begins to fade, the grass that has been infected with Fairy Ring stays greener for a longer period of time.

Fairy Rings can be found worldwide and there are multiple types of fungi involved in its creation. Their size can range from a circle less than a foot in diameter to 2,000 feet as seen in a ring in France that is more than 700 years old. The rings always seem to be growing larger every year. Rings are antagonistic to each other and if they ever do come together, their activity stops.

fairy ring

There are disease control materials that will suppress Fairy Rings, but they are often costly to apply and the results are inconsistent.

I find that core aeration helps reduce the incidence of Fairy Ring. In severe situations, a spring and fall aeration is beneficial. 

Fairy Ring – Expert Lawn Care Tips

Fairy Rings continue to grow larger every year, so eventually, it will grow out of your lawn and into your neighbor’s lawn. For more information on Spring-Green’s aeration services contact your local Spring-Green office today.

How To Deal With Patchy Grass & Soil Compaction

Below, Harold Enger, Spring-Green’s lawn care expert, responds to a question about patchy grass and soil compaction. He offers several different ways of dealing with these pesky and persistent problems.

Question:

“There is a spot in my back yard where the grass is patchy. I lime, fertilize, aerate. The dirt is compacted. I have no worms. Someone said to use compost. How? How do I get worms in the soil ? How do I de-compact?”

Ms. Larouse,
Thank you for sending in your question. The first thing I suggest you do is to take a soil sample to your local county extension service to determine the pH and nutrient levels of your soil and then add the correct materials to correct for deficiencies. There will be a fee involved, but you will receive a written report of the soil test results.

The best way to relieve soil compaction is through the process of core aeration. You can rent a core aerator at many hardware stores, home improvement centers or rental agencies. Be sure the soil is moist before aerating so that the tines will penetrate the ground easily and deeply.
After aerating, you can spread a good humus compost across the area of patchy grass. You can purchase these products via the Internet, but the shipping will be expensive. I went to the Home Depot website, searched for “compost” and found several products that could be used. Again, bagged products will be expensive. You can also look up compost suppliers in your town.

The rate is generally 500 pounds of compost per 1,000 sq. ft. You will want to spread it across the area with a spreader or with a shovel and rake. It is not an easy process. You would be okay with just aerating the lawn.

In regards to the worms, they will find their way back into your lawn, especially if you add the compost to the lawn. You can purchase earthworms via the Internet as well, but I would wait until you see what happens.

Looking for additional help with patchy grass or soil compaction? Feel free to contact Harold with any other questions or lawn care tips by visiting his Ask the Expert blog.

Learn more about…

Moss Control
Spring Cleanup
GROWING GRASS IN SHADY AREAS

The Basics of Lawn Care: Aerating, Overseeding, and Fertilizing

On Page Seeding

Like many people across the country, Mr. Roy wondered how to reclaim his thin, bare lawn after an especially harsh winter, so he sought the advice of Spring-Green’s authority on lawn care, Harold Enger. Read below to see how you, too, can thicken up your grass and get your lawn back.

Question:

“My lawn is very thin and has some bare spots after this hard winter. What do I do to thicken up my lawn and fill in the bare spots?”

Mr. Roy, thank you for sending in your question. I would not be doing my job if I didn’t tell you that you should contact Spring-Green and request a lawn evaluation. You can visit our website at www.spring-green.com or call (815) 436-8350. If you prefer to attempt to do the work yourself, here’s what I suggest:

Step 1: Core Aerate

Rent a core aeration machine from your local hardware store or rental center. This machine travels across the lawn, removing plugs of soil and thatch and leaving them on the lawn. This opens up the lawn to allow more air, water and nutrients to penetrate the soil, and it also helps to build the root system. The cores or plugs that are left will dissolve back into the lawn with rain or normal irrigation.

Step 2: Plant Grass Seed

Following core aeration, you’ll have a good site for seed germination. I usually recommend seeding cool season grasses in late August to early September, but if your lawn is thin, then you may want to consider seeding this spring. There are a few considerations that you have to keep in mind. First, you cannot apply a crabgrass preventer as this product will keep your grass seed from germinating as well. Second, you cannot apply a broadleaf weed control for dandelions, clover or other broadleaf weeds until the new seed has germinated and has been mowed three or four times. Light, frequent watering is the best for new seed. If you plan to seed your entire lawn, you may be disappointed with the results if it cannot be watered. I recommend a blend of 70% Perennial Ryegrass to 30% Bluegrass. Most hardware stores carry seed, and this is one area where you don’t want to look for the cheapest price. Buy good, quality seed.

Step 3: Fertilize Your Lawn

Applying fertilizer will help thicken up the lawn by stimulating new growth. As with grass seed, get a good quality fertilizer. Although there are regulations in Illinois that prohibit the use of fertilizer that contains phosphorus (the middle number on the fertilizer analysis) you are allowed to use it after seeding. If possible, use a fertilizer with an analysis of 14-14-14. Read the label that comes with the bag to ensure you are not over-applying the product.

Conclusion

In addition to following the above order, you want to follow good cultural practices, too. Mow at 2.5 – 3 inches in length, leave the clippings on the lawn after mowing and do your best to supply 1 inch of water to your lawn at least once every other week. In my experience, I usually try to talk customers out of seeding in the spring so that the weeds can be kept in check throughout the spring and summer, then, it makes sense to aerate and overseed in the fall. The fertilizer you apply now and throughout the summer will help to thicken the lawn and get it in better shape for the fall. Or, as I said earlier, contact Spring-Green and let us do the work for you!