Red Thread – Frequently Asked Questions?

What is Red Thread?

Red Thread is a turf disease found in across the UK and Ireland. It's fairly common, it can impact the appearance of turf but generally doesn't disrupt playing surfaces.

What causes Red Thread?

Red thread is caused by the fungi Laetisaria fuciformis. When growing conditions are good infection may be transient but under poor growing conditions attacks may be severe.

Red Thread Turf Disease UK
Red needles and pink flocks of mycelium

How do you spot and identify Red Thread?

The symptoms depend on the grass species and severity of attack. Symptoms often start as small mostly circular patches of dead leaves interspersed with live plants. The patches may also have a pink tinge. Closer inspection will reveal pale pink to red needle or horn-like outgrowths. Pink flocks of mycelium (resembling candyfloss) may also be present in conducive conditions.

Symptoms of red thread

Where is Red Thread found?

Any area of turf, especially golf greens, tees, fairways, bowling greens, lawns, parkland and sports pitches.

What are the effects of Red Thread?

Red Thread does not commonly affect the playing quality of the turf but reduces the aesthetic appearance. Red thread may thin the sward.

When does Red Thread occur in turf?

High Risk Situations

  • Fescue is the most severely affected, although there is variation among subspecies and cultivars. Lolium perenne is also very susceptible.
  • Low fertility.
  • Warm and wet conditions.
  • Slowly growing turf.
  • Moisture retentive turf surface.

Integrated Turf Management

  • Use recommended rates of fertiliser at the recommended timing to prevent low fertility problems occurring.
  • Oversow with grass varieties that are less susceptible to red thread.
  • Maintain good drainage and manage the turfgrass to reduce surface moisture.
  • Keep thatch layers to a minimum.
  • Light penetration (especially morning sunlight) and airflow should be encouraged to dry the turf surface quickly.
  • Collecting clippings helps to prevent the spread of infected material.

Fungicidal Control

Application of Instrata Elite at early phases of disease development is very effective. Trials have also shown that Heritage controls red thread.

Find out more about the turf disease, Red Thread on the Greencast website.

Read my blog and frequently asked questions about another turf disease, Anthracnose here.

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