How To Control And Treat Red Thread Lawn Disease

red thread lawn disease

One of the more common late spring to early summer diseases on cool-season grasses is Red Thread lawn disease. It is most severe on Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass and Tall Fescue. There is another lawn disease that occurs at the same time and under the same environmental conditions known as Pink Patch.

The main difference between the two lawn diseases are the fruiting structures. Red Thread takes its name from the red thread-like structures called sclerotia that are produced by the fungus. Pink Patch produces tiny puffs of pink-cottony mycelium that resemble little bits of cotton candy stuck to the grass blades. Of the two diseases, Red Thread is the more common one seen in home lawns. Red Thread may develop when temperatures range from 40 to 75°F. Most grass activity occurs when temperatures range 65 to 75°F and during periods of cool, cloudy weather with long periods of evening dew.

What Does Red Thread Lawn Disease Look Like?

Symptoms are often visible from the street as circular patches of tan or pink grass about 4-8 inches in diameter. Upon closer inspection, the sclerotia are easily visible, appearing like small, red threads protruding out of the grass blades, especially near the tip. Red Thread will affect the leaves, leaf sheaths and stems without killing the entire plant, unless the outbreak is severe. The infection begins as small blighted areas on leaves and rapidly enlarge, covering the entire leaf blade. The affected leaves will dry out and turn a bleached straw color.

After it has completed its life cycle, the disease produces the red threads or sclerotia. In other words, unless the weather conditions last a long time, the red threads signal the end of its activity. These threads will break off and act as “seeds” for future outbreaks of the disease. Mowing infected areas has little impact on spreading the disease so collecting clippings during this period is not very beneficial.

How To Treat Red Thread Lawn Disease

It is important to maintain an adequate nitrogen fertility program to lessen the effects of Red Thread. Fertilization after an outbreak of Red Thread will help the turf to “grow out” of the effects of the disease activity. Fertilizer will help the lawn grow and then the diseased parts of the plant can be mowed off to allow newer, healthy blades to grow. Avoid excessive watering during cool, cloudy periods that may extend the time the turf remains wet. Core aeration and overseeding with improved varieties of turf grasses that are more resistant to Red Thread are another two important cultural practices.

There are chemical control options, but by the time the red threads are seen, it is usually too late to apply a preventative disease control application. Making sure the lawn is well fertilized, mowed properly and receives the right amount of water on a weekly basis is the best approach to take when dealing with Red Thread lawn disease.

If Red Thread is a problem in your lawn, contact your neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green. They will be happy to inspect your yard and provide a beneficial lawn care program.

Lawn Care 101- Are You Up for the Task?

weedy lawn

Pushing a spreader across a lawn is not all that difficult and spraying a few weeds doesn’t take an advanced degree. Here are some things to take into consideration when deciding between taking care of your lawn yourself or hiring a lawn care company to do the work for you.

No offense to my friends who own lawn maintenance companies, but it does not take much expertise to mow a lawn or use a weed whacker. Most homeowners hire a maintenance company because they are tired of doing the work themselves. However caring for your lawn requires more technical knowledge and knowledge of which products to apply and when to apply them.

When I visit my local hardware store in the spring and I see homeowners looking at all of the different weed control products, wondering which one is the best to use, I feel like I should hold an impromptu training session on which product should be used on which plants and on what turfgrasses.

We have all seen the homeowner who picked the wrong product and ended up with lots of dead spots in their lawn because he used a non-selective herbicide, like Round-Up, on his weeds.

Here are some key questions to ask yourself before performing your own lawn care: 

  1. Do lawns in your area have a problem with diseases or insects?
  2. What diseases and what insects are causing the problems?
  3. Are annual white grubs a problem in your lawn or is it chinch bugs or army worms?
  4. Does your lawn suffer from Red Thread, Rust, Brown Patch, Large Patch or Leaf Spot?
  5. What are the correct products to use to treat these insects or diseases?
  6. At what time of the year should they be applied?

Besides buying the right products, you also have to purchase the correct application equipment for the products you plan to use. Make sure to consider these things before heading to the store:

  1. Do you want to use a drop spreader or a broadcast spreader?
  2. Should you purchase a 1-gallon or 2-gallon handheld sprayer or use a hose end sprayer?
  3. What amount do you apply? Most products have labels that provide the application rates, but sometimes the rates are listed as a range, like 4 to 8 ounces per 1,000 sq. ft.
  4. What does a 1,000 sq. ft. look like?
  5. Do you know how big your lawn is so that you can purchase and apply the right amount?

Caring for a lawn may seem like an easy task, but there is a lot more to it than most people realize.  If you want a nice looking lawn, hire a lawn care professional.  It will actually save you money in the long run.

Interested in having your lawn cared for by professionals this spring? Contact your local Spring-Green for more information.

What Causes A Lawn Disease To Develop?

Hand on Green Grass

In order for a lawn disease to develop, three conditions – known as the Disease Triangle – must exist.

1. You need to have the pathogen or disease-causing agent present. Disease spores from the diseases that are common to the area can be found in most home lawns. They usually float in on wind currents, wash in during rain events or are transmitted by animals or people.
2. You need the host plant, which is your turf grass (or tree or shrub). Usually the plant needs to be actively growing in order for the disease to infect it.
3. Finally the third side of the triangle is the environment. When we speak about the environment, we are referring to air temperature and moisture, but still other environmental influences came into play. Mowing too short, letting the turf grow too long, too much fertilizer, too little fertilizer, too much water, too little water, too much shade, poor soil conditions, variety or cultivar of the plant, etc.

However the thing that brings it all together is time. The environment has to exist for a long enough time for the pathogen to develop and infect the host plant. If proper cultural practices are being followed, meaning proper mowing, watering, fertilization and thatch control, the likelihood of a disease developing is greatly reduced – but not eliminated. If conditions are perfect for a long enough time for a disease to develop, that is what it will do.

Case in Point: Red Thread Lawn Disease

This is exactly what happened during the warm spell much of the nation experienced in December. Two of our lawn care franchise owners, Scott Bixby of Wilmington, DE and Charlie Marshall of Centreville, VA, sent in pictures of a disease that is normally seen in the late spring or early summer – Red Thread.

Lawn Disease

For those of us in the lawn care industry, seeing something out of the ordinary is a welcome diversion. However it may not be the same case for our customers. Now that the weather has turned more seasonal, the development of Red Thread has stopped, however the spots will remain until it begins to warm up again. There really is nothing that can be done at this time of year. Marvel at the wonders of nature and dream about warmer days to come. At least that is what I am going to do.

Are you seeing other lawn diseases in your yard? Find your local Spring-Green owner to discuss treatment options and our satisfaction-guaranteed lawn care services.

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.