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 in our area, FINE FESCUE seems to the choice of grasses for this disease. It can occur in its most severe form on nitrogen deficient grass, during cool, moist weather.
IDENTIFYING RED THREAD:
The fungus over winters on the leaves of the grass plant 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.
Red Thread is best controlled by good cultural practices and fertilization. Water your lawn deeply once or twice a week to ensure grass has a chance to dry out. Water in the morning if you can, watering at night will leave the grass blade wet and encourage fungal growth. Ensure your mower blade is sharp. A dull blade will rip the grass leaving openings for the disease to utilize. Apply fertilizer on a regular basis, generally every 4-6 weeks is good. If Red Thread is present in your lawn, try bagging two cuts of your lawn to get rid of the fungus on the tips of the grass blade. Make sure to dispose of the clippings in an area not affected by grass growth.