red thread close-up

What is Red Thread?

Red Thread is a fungal lawn disease caused by the fungus Laetisaria fuciformis. The effects of the disease can be seen throughout the year, but mostly through the spring/summer months and/or during periods of high humidity. The occurrence of the disease is most evident after periods of wet weather, especially towards the end of summer, when humidity is high.

Like any other fungal disease, it is difficult to diagnose when it is not active. Red Thread can form on your lawn within just a few days so it is important to contact us at the earliest opportunity.

How do I know if my lawn has Red Thread?

The lawn will begin to show small patches of grey-brown turf initially:

red thread

On closer inspection the grass plant will have small, red needles protruding from the diseased leaf:

How did Red Thread get in my lawn?

Fungal diseases spread through their spores. Red Thread spores can be carried by the wind, insects or birds. Most lawns have the Red Thread disease present in them, but the disease will not cause damage until the weather conditions are correct for its growth.

Although high humidity is the main cause of Red Thread, it can also be seen in lawns that are suffering from plant stress. This is usually caused by various different factors, including poor cutting practises, drought, thatch and compaction.

How do I control Red Thread in my lawn?

Red Thread can controlled in the short term by applying a Red Thread fungicide treatment. This will tackle the problem head on, but may not prevent it returning.

To help reduce the on-set of any future Red Thread, it is best to improve the overall condition using Green Man Lawn Care Booster Treatments of the lawn by scarifyingaerating and overseeding on an annual basis combined with a seasonal fertiliser program.

Will my lawn always suffer from Red Thread?

Like any other fungus, if the conditions are right, the disease will take hold and will require some sort of control method. Most lawns will suffer from Red Thread if conditions are right, and in most cases, it is the lawns that get the most care and attention that will suffer the most due to the increase in plant stress caused by the care and attention given. For example, lawns that are cut very short and often (such as gold greens) will suffer the most.  

Will Red Thread kill my lawn?

The Red Thread disease is a parasitic fungus. This means the disease plants itself in to the plant and absorbs the nutrients from grass plants to support its own life. Although it will not kill the grass plants entirely, it will cause irreversible damage to the leaves of the grass plants. The good thing is, grass plants can regrow their leaves quickly, so once controlled, your lawn should start to revive itself pretty quickly.