What is Red Thread and what can I do about it?

Summer should be the honeymoon period of your lawn care calendar, so when pinkish / red blades (red thread) start appearing in your lawn, naturally, it can cause alarm bells.

The first thing you should know about red thread is that it has never killed a lawn, so whilst it is unsightly and quite frankly, annoying, it won’t kill off your lawn.

In most cases, red thread isn’t the fault of the lawn owner, so we’re not about to reprimand you - but it can be prevented by regularly feeding your lawn. More on that later, but first let’s find out what this dreaded red thread is and what causes it.

What is red thread?

Red Thread is a fungal disease that can take over your lawn in patches – you’ll first notice some yellowing of your grass and then you will notice needles forming through your grass that are a pink/red colour. If you’re really invested in the intricate details of red thread, its Latin name is Laetisaria fuciformis.

Why is red thread a problem and what will it do to my lawn?

The main issue with red thread is that it is unsightly, and realistically, you’d rather not have it in your lawn.  By first turning patches of your lawn yellow / brown, and then introducing red needles throughout these patches, if left untreated it can spread.

How does it do this?

Well, let’s break down its name. The ‘red’ part is the fungus, it wraps or ‘threads’ its way through your grass, and eventually begins to take over, but you can control it, or better yet, prevent it from happening!

What causes it?

The effects are red needles throughout your grass, in amongst yellow / brown patches , but the cause is often wet summers where there’s lots of rain and heat – but not much else. This encourages the fungus to grow and spread, and this is when you begin to see it appear in your lawn.

What can I do to prevent it, and how can I cure it?

In this case, the prevention and the cure are almost the same. Lawns that aren’t fed lack nitrogen, and this lack of nitrogen encourages the fungus to take over. Feed your lawn a nitrogen rich fertiliser to cure your red thread problem and to prevent it. We recommend our QUICK RELEASE: Spring / Summer – once watered in, this granular feed will set to work on your lawn making it green once again, and red thread free!

How long does it take to go away?

Within a few weeks, you should notice the effects of red thread begin to lessen, i.e less visibility of red needles, and the patches should start to ‘green up’ again. Of course, this is dependent on the type of fertiliser you choose and how fast it works. If you want the quickest solution – make sure to invest in a quick release fertiliser.

How can I repair it?

If you find that your grass isn’t recovering quite as well as you’d hoped (e.g. you noticed the problem a little late) then you can repair these areas by reseeding. To prevent the problem from happening in the future, make sure you regularly and seasonally feed your lawn.

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