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Associated with humid conditions usually from May onwards
Of all grass diseases red thread lawn fungus is the most common. In fact I would pretty much bet that your lawn has it every year and you more than likely have never noticed.
The disease or fungus causes the grass leaf (not the grass plant) to die often giving the lawn a blotchy appearance. Whilst the disease is active the blotches will have a pink colouration and on closer inspection you will see 2mm long pink threads or needles.
Red thread attacks from May onwards favouring humid and mild weather. Early and late summer temperatures with a dewy grass are ideal though the drying effect of summer on your lawn can disguise the disease leading most people to assume wrongly that the lawn is just suffering from drought.
Very wet summers also present ideal conditions. In these years the red thread fungus has been very obvious as the pinky or orangy blotches have formed in otherwise healthy green lawns.
Red thread is often accompanied by another disease or fungus known as pink patch. This appears at the same time but presents itself as tiny pin head size blobs a bit like candy floss.
Finally, some lawns will be affected more than others. The following conditions may increase severity of attack:
The most important control measure, used by green keepers world wide, is to maintain a good supply of nitrogen in the turf to promote growth. This enables the disease to be mowed out. A fertiliser containing some potassium as well is often preferable. Any of the Lawnsmith Spring & Summer Fertilisers will provide the correct nutrients and have sufficient strength. In addition:
Though fungicides are available you are going to need to be on the ball as treatment prior to attack is the best way to control this disease. Treat too early and the fungicide runs out of steam and too late defeats the object. This means the skills of a green keeper are required which makes treatment a problem!
Add to that, you will need to treat several times in a year and as treatment prevents the grass building up its own resistance to the disease you will get locked into an an annual cycle of treatments. Personally I wouldn’t bother and just do your best with good lawn care practices and a well timed dose of fertiliser to reduce its impact. Once conditions improve the lawn will recover with no lasting damage.
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