A homeowner takes pride in maintaining a beautiful, healthy, green striped lawn. However the presence of fairy rings can quickly diminish that joy. Fairy rings are frustrating circular patches of grass that are darker or greener than the surrounding area often accompanied by the emergence of mushrooms. Dealing with fairy rings can be a common challenge but with the right approach you can effectively restore the beauty of your lawn.
Fairy rings tend to expand outward at a rate of 6 to 24 inches per year depending on the type of grass, soil conditions, and weather. They are particularly prevalent in sandy soils that have low water content and fertility. Additionally the presence of thick thatch layers contributes to this problem. Apart from being unsightly fairy rings can cause significant damage to lawns. The disease often leads to the formation of a dense fungal mat which hinders the penetration of water to the grass roots below.
Once the soil becomes dry it is very difficult to wet and the grassroots eventually die. The fungus may also deplete soil nutrients and in some cases will release a toxic by-product that can directly kill the turf within a ring.
Identify and Understand Fairy Rings: To effectively address fairy rings it's important to understand their causes and behaviour. Fairy rings are typically caused by fungi that thrive on organic matter beneath the soil surface. They release nutrients that promote enhanced grass growth resulting in the formation of circular patterns. By familiarising yourself with the characteristics and types of fairy rings you can better tailor your approach for effective treatment
Aeration: Utilise a garden fork or aerator to puncture the soil in the affected area. This breaks up the hydrophobic barrier created by the fungi allowing water and nutrients to reach the grass roots more easily.
Raking and Mushroom Removal: Remove any mushrooms present in the fairy ring as this helps prevent the dispersal of spores and further fungal growth.
3. Cultural Practices:
Watering and Fertilisation: Fairy rings tend to be more prominent in dry or nutrient-poor soils. Ensure regular watering and appropriate fertilisation to improve overall grass health and minimise the appearance of fairy rings.
Mowing and Thatch Control: Regular mowing at the correct height and periodic scarification to remove thatch help reduce fungal activity and promote a healthier lawn.
Fungicide Treatment: In severe cases or if other methods prove ineffective the use of fungicides may be necessary. There are no fungicides available to gardeners for fairy ring control. Some lawn maintenance companies offer treatment for diseases with professional fungicides but there is strict legislation controlling the application of professional products to domestic gardens.
4. Prevention Measures:
Preventing the recurrence of fairy rings is essential. Consider the following preventive measures:
a. Soil Drainage Improvement: Adequate soil drainage reduces the favourable conditions for fungal growth. Address any drainage issues in your lawn and keep your lawn well watered.
b. Proper Lawn Care: Maintain regular lawn care practices, including mowing, watering, and fertilising as a healthy lawn is less susceptible to diseases.
c. Organic Matter Control: Minimise the buildup of thatch by regular scarification and proper disposal of grass clippings.
Fertilize, water, aerate and mow!
Dealing with fairy rings in your lawn requires a combination of understanding, effective methods and preventive measures. By identifying and comprehending the nature of fairy rings, implementing physical methods, adopting proper cultural practices and if needed resorting to fungicide treatments you can restore the health and beauty of your lawn. Remember, consistent lawn care and preventive measures are essential for long-term success. Embrace these strategies and soon your lawn will be free from fairy rings.