Red thread disease (Laetisaria fuciformis) is a fungal infection which can attack grass in warm, wet summers. In 2012, red thread rose to almost epidemic levels, infecting almost 70% of lawns in the South Manchester area. The recent wet weather has meant that the grass sward is damp for most of the day which are ideal conditions for fungal spores to mature and attack grass leaves.
This lawn (pictured) was attacked by red thread disease last year, and so the spores were already present in the lawn. A lack of scarification, or aeration also meant this lawn was susceptible and an outbreak when conditions are ideal was almost inevitable.
Can I prevent red thread disease attacking my lawn?
There are several things you can do to prevent red thread lawn disease from becoming a problem on your lawn. Maintaining good cultural practices, such as aerating, and keeping the layers of thatch to a minimum through regular scarification will help the grass stay strong. A good fertilisation and weed control program will also help, although be careful not to over-do the amount of nitrogen applied, as this can cause soft, weak growth which is especially susceptible to fungal attack.
The species of grass you have in your lawn can also be a factor when it comes to red thread disease. Fescue grasses (generally fine, needle-like types) are especially prone. Regularly overseeding with a strong variety of grass will help the lawn naturally fight the infection.
However, the best way to prevent a red thread disease outbreak is to apply a preventative fungicide treatment. This treatment is fast acting, and will keep red thread at bay on your lawn for the majority of the summer months.
If you have a red thread infection on your lawn, or would like to discuss a treatment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and I will be happy to discuss it.