Red thread on a lawn … in January!

By | 07/01/2013
Red Thread Disease on a lawn

On my first day back out on the van after the 2012 Christmas break. The first treatment rounds of the new year saw some very sorry-looking lawns. The UK has experienced almost continual rain now for many months, often torrential. Many of my lawns have been saturated. In many cases have had to put up with standing water for many days.

This is bad news for lawns, especially in the winter. Heavy rain washes through the valuable nutrients, such as potassium, that grass needs to keep their immune systems healthy. The continually damp means the grass sward becomes a veritable utopia for fungal pathogens.

Right weather for red thread on a lawn

In January lawn care operatives expect to see Snow mould (Microdochium nivale), and sometimes Rust (Pucciniaceae) on grass plants. But the unseasonably warm start to 2013 has meant that the pesky red thread (Laetisaria fuciformis) fungus, that was so bad during the summer of 2012, is still hanging around and causing trouble on lawns!

I treated a particularly poorly-looking lawn today (7/1/2013). I spotted the familiar circles and red cotton-like growths that are the sign of a red thread infection…

A close up of red thread on a lawn
Close up of the red thread on a lawn

Grass all over the region is looking poorly. The best thing you can do for it at the moment is keep off it. Apply a winter treatment of iron and also consider a seaweed biostimulant treatment. This will return a considerable amount of micro-nutrients and carbohydrates back into the grass, strengthening it.

If the weather is warm and the lawn is still growing, a winter fertiliser will help to replace the lost nutrients and keep the grass healthy.

If you lawn struggles to recover from the fungus after three or four weeks, then a fungicide treatment is recommended to combat the pathogens.

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