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Diagnosing Fairy Ring Disease

A Fungal Lawn Disease

Fairy Ring Fungal Disease Growing on Lawn

The names of some of the most common lawn diseases can be misleading, and fairy ring is no exception. While the name implies something sweet and delightful, this lawn disease is anything but. In fact, fairy ring is one of the most difficult turf diseases to control and can be a major headache for homeowners.


What Causes Fairy Ring Disease in Lawns?


Fairy Ring is caused by several different types of soil-inhabiting fungi and is found on all turfgrass types. Fungi live in your lawn’s thatch and soil all year long, feeding on grass plants and destroying plant cells in the process. The disease is usually present where there is a source of decaying organic matter, such as a stump in the soil or excess thatch. Rings are more prevalent in nutrient-deficient soil and during the dry months of summer and fall. 


What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Fairy Ring?


Have you seen strange rings or mushrooms on your lawn? Fairy ring may establish itself in several different ways. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Dark green circles or semi-circles of fast-growing grass

  • Dark green rings with a thin ring of dying turf inside or outside

  • Rings of dead or dying turf with a hardened layer of soil

  • Arcs of mushrooms


Note: These rings may take on a lush, green appearance due to an influx of nitrogen released by the fungi.  


Potential Damage


In many cases, fairy ring is simply an aesthetic problem. However, related issues may arise that can cause extensive damage to your home lawn. Potential complications include:


Water repellent soil

Soil can become hydrophobic from a large amount of mycelium (fungus) present. When this occurs, proper irrigation is no longer possible and grass plants will often wilt and die.


Enlarged rings

Rings may expand to over 100 feet in diameter, impacting large portions of the lawn.


Fungi chemical damage

The lawn may become severely weakened by the high concentration of chemicals released by the fungi.


Prevention and Control


There are many steps you can take to help keep fairy ring and other harmful turf diseases at bay:

  • Dethatch your lawn regularly. A thick layer of thatch acts as a breeding ground for fungal diseases.

  • Book a core aeration service with Weed Man. Aeration improves water penetration to the lawn’s root zone, helping push away disease spores from the turf.

  • Water the affected area heavily for two weeks. 

  • Apply fertilizer. A dense, well-fertilized lawn can fight back against disease. 

  • Maintain proper mowing and watering practices.


If fairy ring symptoms persist, a fungicide may be necessary to alleviate disease conditions. Contact your local Weed Man professional today for further assistance. 


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