Have you noticed those little needle-like red threads showing up on your lawn when wet? If so, you’ve probably got red thread lawn disease. Don’t worry, it’s common and treatable.
There are natural ways to get rid of this fungal disease without resorting to harsh chemicals. You want a green, healthy lawn, not one dotted with unsightly red strands.
This lawn disease, caused by the fungus Laetisaria fuciformis , shows up as pinkish or red threads throughout your grass.
The fungus spreads during wet, humid weather and attacks stressed lawns, especially those low in nitrogen.
You’ll first notice thin, cobweb-like patches of red threads, usually after rain or heavy dew. It will also look more pinkish when the grass is dry.
How to Get Rid of Red Thread Lawn Disease Naturally
Below are some natural ways to stop red thread disease in its tracks before serious damage occurs.
1. Avoid Walking On Grass
To avoid spreading red thread disease on your lawn, it’s best to stay off the grass. Even more so, if red thread disease has already started appearing, avoid walking on the affected areas of grass as much as possible.
By staying off affected areas of grass and providing barriers in areas of frequent foot traffic, you can help prevent and control the spread of red thread disease in your lawn.
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that can help treat lawn fungi.
Therefore, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spritz the mixture directly onto the area where the fungus is and the surrounding soil.
The acetic acid in vinegar helps kill the fungal spores responsible for red thread grass disease. However, be sure to only use it on the affected spots, as it can also kill the healthy grass that it touches.
3. Increase Sunlight and Air Movement
To help prevent lawn diseases, make every effort to get more sunlight and air circulation to your grass. Red thread and other fungal diseases thrive in damp, shady areas.
Provide your lawn with at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day. Also, trim back any trees or shrubs that are shading the area.
Good air circulation coupled with limited moisture on grass blades discourages fungal growth and spread.
4. Avoid Overly Wet Grass
To control red thread, make sure you avoid keeping your lawn overly wet. Excess moisture promotes the growth of the fungus responsible for the red thread on grass.
Therefore, allow your grass blades to dry out between waterings and never leave standing puddles of water on the lawn.
When you irrigate, do so in the early morning to give the grass blades time to dry during the day.
5. Baking Soda
This is a widely used, inexpensive product with fungicidal properties. It can help fix the red thread and other lawn fungal problems.
To make a homemade red thread fungicide, mix about one tablespoon of baking soda and one gallon of water. Use a spray bottle to apply the solution to the infected areas of your lawn.
The baking soda will make the environment less favorable for the fungal disease.
6. Apply Lime to Lawn
To raise the pH level of your lawn and create an alkaline soil environment unfriendly to this disease, apply agricultural limestone.
Once the lime has been applied, be sure to water your lawn thoroughly to help it start dissolving into the soil.
This method can greatly improve your lawn’s health and help prevent red thread turf disease without the use of fungicides.
7. Dethatch the Lawn
This process removes the layer of dead plant material between the grass blades and the soil. This no doubt sends more water, air, and nutrients to the grass roots.
So, in essence, dethatching allows your grass to breathe and thrive. It also reduces disease by increasing airflow and sunlight exposure.
8. Aerate Compacted Soil
This is another practical process as it will help relieve soil compaction and send more water, oxygen, and nutrients to the grass roots. Compacted soil prevents healthy root growth and promotes disease.
For DIY lawn aeration without renting equipment, you can use a garden fork or aerator shoes with spikes.
9. Remove Excessive Thatch
Thatch is the layer of dead grass clippings, roots, and stems that build up between the grass blades and the soil.
Too much thatch prevents water and air from reaching the grass roots and soil . It also creates the perfect environment for disease and pests to thrive.
Therefore, remove excess thatch. This will almost instantly improve the health of your lawn and reduce disease problems like red thread.
10. Mow Lawn the Right Way
Mowing your lawn regularly and at the proper height is key to preventing this and other lawn diseases.
Cut it to a height of 2 to 3 inches. Any shorter, and the grass becomes stressed, making it more susceptible to disease.
Taller grass has a larger leaf surface, allowing it to take in more sunlight and produce more food for the plant. Mowing too short, known as “scalping”, removes much of the leaf surface, weakening the grass.
For the healthiest lawn, never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time.
So there you have it: a few easy and natural ways to control red thread disease and have your lawn looking lush again. Give these remedies a shot and be patient as your grass recovers.