September 22, 2022

How to treat Red Thread in lawns

The autumn months are the most likely time of year to encounter red thread in lawns. Spotting it for the first time can be quite alarming – but don’t worry, your lawn hasn’t been invaded by Martians.

Instead, red thread lawn disease is caused by a fungus that leaves a red thread-like substance behind, hence the name.

Let’s look in more detail at the question “What is red thread disease?” and some of the best ways to tackle red thread grass, so that you know how to treat red thread disease if you find it in your lawn this autumn.

What is red thread disease?

Red thread disease is a fungus with the Latin name Laetisaria fuciformis. It particularly grows on the types of grass used in UK lawn turf, and if left unchecked, it can be a real blight.

You’re likely to initially notice brown patches of dead or dying grass, but look closer and you should also see a fine string-like substance in a bright fire-engine red.

These gelatinous red fibres are specific to this particular fungus, so they’re the best way to diagnose red thread in lawns. However, you may also see more typical mould-like fluff forming on your grass, which should be paler in colour but still a pinkish-white.

How to treat red thread disease

The good news is that red thread lawn disease usually does not completely kill the grass; however, the brown patches can remain unsightly for quite some time.

Applying nitrogen can help to control red thread. Unfortunately, the RHS advises not to do this after August due to the increased risk of snow mould – a real catch-22 at the highest-risk time of year for red thread grass infections.

Some of the usual best practice for lawn care can help by removing the growth red thread thrives on:

  • Scarify the lawn to remove moss and thatch
  • Aerate the lawn to improve drainage and reduce compacted soil
  • Remove wet fallen leaves, which are needed for infection

As always, maintaining a healthy lawn all year round, with a good, deep and strong root structure, is a great precursor to keeping your grass disease-free.

Removing and replacing red thread grass

The RHS recommends that red thread grass cuttings should be disposed of, and not composted, in order to reduce the amount of fungus present in your garden.

You might choose to go a step further, especially if your lawn seems beyond help or you want it looking at its best again as soon as possible.

Removing red thread grass entirely and replacing it with a fresh layer of British turf grass is one way to clear your garden of L. fuciformis in one fell swoop.

Carbutts Turf supplies top-quality fescue turf grown on our farm in the north-west, with customers across Cheshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

If you’ve been invaded by red thread grass disease, call us today and place your order for fresh, healthy and fungus-free lawn turves that will have your garden looking vibrant and verdant in no time.

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