Red thread is a relatively new fungal disease to our region, but seems to be on the rise in urban areas. Almost all grasses can be affected, however Fine Fescue seems to be a preference for this disease. It generally is found on nitrogen deficient grass during cool, moist weather.

Identifying Red Thread

The fungus over winters on the blades of grass and in the thatch layer. Only the leaf blade and the sheath appear to be affected. The leaf blade becomes covered with a pink growth, which forms a thread-like material as the fungus dries out, hence the name "Red Thread". As the disease progresses, the grass will gradually dry out creating a tan appearance to the lawn in areas from a few inches to at the extreme, most of the lawn.

Control

Red Thread is best controlled by proper cultural practices, including regular fertilization. Watering the lawn deeply once a week will ensure the soil remains moist, but the surface stays dry. The best time to water will be in the morning. Watering at night will leave the grass blade wet for too long a period and encourage fungal growth. Also ensure your lawn mower blade is sharp. A dull blade will rip or tear the tips of grass, creating an opening for the disease to develop. Apply fertilizer on a regular basis, generally every 4-6 weeks. If Red Thread is present in the lawn, bag the clippings of the next two cuts to get rid of the fungus on the tips of the grass blade. Make sure to dispose of the clippings in a non-grassy area.

For more information, call the professionals at Ace of Blades at 818-LAWN (818-5296),
or e-mail us at paul@aceofblades.ca.