Lawn care diseases – Red thread

Red thread is one of the most common turf diseases which can re-occur a number of times in any one year, as the fungus spores in the soil remain active for up to 2 years.

Red thread can survive temperature as low -20°C or as high as 32°C. It appears most severely during late spring through to the autumn and can develop on most grasses, but ryegrasses, fescues and annual meadow grass appear to be more commonly infected. This disease is often referred to as an indicator of low fertility and the symptoms are especially common with a reduced level of nitrogen available to the plant.

Red thread – What to look for

The infected areas are countless strands of very pale pink fungal mycelium which grow out of the leaf tissue and become wound tightly together appearing pink or red when complete. The development of these needles, or mycelium, allows the infection to spread over the lawn surface, especially during humid conditions.

When and how does red thread occur?

The ongoing problem can occur, as once the sward is dry or the relative humidity around the turf is reduced, the needles become desiccated and brittle. They then break from the infected plants and fall to the base of the sward where they will remain until favourable conditions return.

Remember that red thread can re-occur on a number of occasions, so it is not possible to guarantee that one treatment will resolve the problem. The disease can be spread by infected clippings and direct movement of the fungus underfoot or by machinery, but can also be transmitted by infected clippings being windblown over longer distances.

How can red thread be treated?

While red thread is almost invariably a leaf disease, and despite the fungus having the ability to enter and damage the crown tissues, it very seldom does. Because of this, the symptoms of the disease can frequently be reduced by balanced applications of fertiliser, and the removal of the diseased leaf tissue by boxing off the clippings during mowing.

  • By visiting your lawn regularly, we can identify problems whilst they are still small and treat them before they cause serious damage.
  • Our extensive experience has shown that a lawn thrives with multiple feedings – because we’re there regularly, we can customise the treatments to the needs of your lawn each time we visit.
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