Fairy ring disease causes discolored patches of grass that grow in circles. These patches can be as large as 10 feet wide and can cause significant damage to your lawn if left unchecked. Fairy rings are caused by soil fungi that produce a discolored patch of grass in circles.
Fairy ring disease is one of the most common diseases of lawns and occurs when fungi grow on your lawn. When this occurs, the fungus causes mushrooms to grow on your lawn resulting in fairy ring disease. The disease is caused by the fungus “Dactylis glomerata.” It attacks several different species of plants including fescue, winter ryegrass, and pampas grass. Fairy rings can be controlled and prevented with the right lawn care and maintenance practices.
Here are some things you can do to prevent and control fairy rings.
1. Remove the Grass
To control existing fairy rings, start by removing the grass from the fairy ring. Cut a one-foot-wide circle around the discolored area and remove the grass. You’ll want to remove about an inch of soil from the center of this circle as well. The fungus will spread underground and will continue to produce a discolored ring if you don’t remove all of it.
2. Reduce Thatch by Mowing the Grass
Excessive thatch can be the cause of fairy ring disease. To reduce the amount of thatch in your lawn, you’ll have to mow the grass more often. Mowing your grass about once a week will keep it low enough for sunlight to reach the roots. This allows healthy grass to grow strong while reducing the occurrence of fairy ring disease by improving soil conditions.
3. Fertilize Your Lawn
Fertilizing your lawn will allow a larger root system to grow and help prevent fairy ring disease. This will also help prevent the formation of thatch by improving the soil conditions. A good rule of thumb is to fertilize a lawn at a rate of 1 pound of nitrogen (or other fertilizer) per 1000 square feet of lawn. This will help prevent thatch and also improve the overall health and appearance of your lawn.
4. Aerate Your Lawn
Aerating your lawn is another way to improve soil conditions and reduce thatch, which allows sunlight to reach deeper into the roots of your grass, preventing fairy ring disease. Aerating your lawn can be done with either a power aerator or a lawn aerator. Power aerators are usually used to improve the soil conditions, while lawn aerators are best used to simply loosen the soil and prevent thatch from forming over time.
Preventing fairy ring disease is the best way to control fairy ring disease. When using a lawn treatment, such as a fungicide or fertilizer, always follow the directions on the product label. Not all products are safe for use in all lawns, and some will kill the grass. Proper application of these products is one of the most important aspects of lawn care for fairy ring control.