The Red Thread fungus seriously disfigures lawns in certain conditions; thunderstorms, heavy rain and warm weather have combined to raise humidity levels making this much more likely than normal.
Current conditions are an ideal environment for fungus to grow and damage the leaves of your lawn. The fungus harvests the chlorophyll (green pigment) from the grass, leaving it looking like straw.
This year many lawns have higher than normal levels of thatch following last year’s drought. Spring in East Anglia was cold and dry meaning grass did not have much if any time to renew and strengthen before the conditions favourable to `Red Thread` arrived.
Some grass types are more likely to suffer from `Red Thread` infections than others, young lawns and particularly lawns laid from turf tend to be most at risk.
What does this mean?
Expect Red Thread - it's already active in many places
Rain and warmth will increase humidity and therefore the severity of attack
Patches of lawn will go straw coloured
The spores can spread so limit lawn maintenance to mowing and feeding
What to do about it:
Fertiliser (high Nitrogen content) is the main defence, promoting growth so that fungal damage gets mown out relatively quickly – This has been applied to your lawn today!
Other things that reduce severity:
- Remove clippings after mowing
- Water deeply and infrequently only if conditions become dry
- Do NOT water in the evenings
- Refrain from using fungicide - you will reduce resistance in your lawn and any future attack may . be even worse.
You are also likely to damage your soils population of micro . organisms and make it less fertile.
DO NOT rake or scarify the lawn until conditions are much drier or you will
increase damage and spread the fungus!
Once the disease has ceased being active, usually August or September
Scarify the lawn to remove thatch that harbours fungal spores and improve surface drying.
This should be done before Autumn feeding.