Red Thread is one of the most common lawn diseases seen in the UK and it’s likely to affect your lawn on a yearly basis (provided you don’t take particularly good care of it).
But don’t worry, it’s not as big a deal as you might think.
Even though it will make your lawn look a little poorly (by changing the colour of the grass blades), the disease won’t kill it entirely.
It only affects (and sometimes kills) the blades of grass, not the plant and its roots. So the only problems it will cause are related to the aesthetics of your lawn and not its overall health.
Even though high humidity is the main cause of Red Thread, there are many other things that can cause it as well, most of which are related to poor lawn maintenance practices.
- a poor cutting regieme
- high levels of thatch
- lack of fertilisation
- patches of dead grass being leaving on the lawn during wet weather
This is why those that take minimal care of their lawn are more likely to experience Red Thread in their lawn on a yearly basis.
You’ll most likely see Red Thread appear during summer and early autumn as this is when humidity is at its highest.
Make sure your are careful when identifying it. If you’re doing so during summer than make sure you don’t get it confused with drought, which it can look similar to at first glance – both turn your turf into a grey-brown colour.
If you take a closer look at the grass blade you’ll notice small red straws sticking out from the grass blade, which over time will grow and become more visible.
You don’t necessarily need a magnifying glass to see this but it’ll be much clearer if you do so.
The patches caused by Red Thread usually grow to about 7.5cm to 25cm but they can grow even larger.
As I said above, those that are most likely to see Red Thread as those that don’t take the best possible care of their lawn.
Therefore, in order to prevent the disease from appearing in your lawn at all, you need to KEEP it in the best condition possible.
To do so, follow the steps below:
- Applying nitrogen to the affected area will often be sufficient to control the disease. Just make sure you don’t apply after August, this will avoid the production of soft growth which is prone to snow mould.
- Scarifying the turf will remove thatch and moss and will increase aeration, which will reduce the threat of Red Thatch.
- Poor draining and compacted soils can be alleviated by forking or by the use of a solid or hollow tined aerator, which also reduces the threat of Red Thatch.
- Make sure you dispose of the grass clippings gathered while mowing by wasting it, don’t put it in your compost. This reduces the amount of fungus present to re-infect the lawn.
- If you’re fertilising on a regular basis and still receive Red Thread then this is just the lawn telling you that it’s still running a little low on nutrients.
Now, you could apply a fungicide to treat the affected area but you’d need to do this before it spreads, which can be difficult to judge. So you’ll most likely need a pro to do it for you.
For one treatment this might not be so bad but if this is the route you plan to go down you’ll likely need to carry this out on a yearly basis which could mean prices get pretty high.
Not only that but by applying a fungicide you’re not giving the lawn a chance to build up a resistance to the disease, which makes it more likely to return year on year.
So for the long term health of your lawn, you’re better off following my advice above to treat the disease.
It may take a little more work but it’ll certainly give you fewer problems to deal with!
If you found this post interesting then maybe you’d like to see some of my other content, like my robomower reviews?
If so then head over to my Robot Lawn Mower Review Page, I’ve reviewed various models all designed for different purposes so if you’re in the market there won’t be a better place to go than here!