We have started our lawn fertilization program using our special liquid mixture that helps snap lawns out of their winter blues. There are many benefits to having a good fertilization program, even more than just making them greener. Now is the time we are seeing a lot of the fungus Red Thread in our landscapes. Although up close it looks somewhat pretty, when it comes to having a nice green lawn it is not something we want.
According to the Pacific Northwest Plant and Disease Handbook, Red Thread is a fungus that thrives in high moisture, high humidity conditions. The fungi become more active in lawns that are already suffering from other issues such as low levels of potassium, phosphorus, or nitrogen.
Red Thread is now beginning to show due to all the saturated soil we have and the increase in temperature making it ideal conditions for the fungus to grow. This disease infects the blades only making lawns look unattractive while not completely killing off the plant. Here are a few pictures from one location showing what it looks like as you get closer to the circle.
In a way Red Thread is telling us some key nutritional information as to what is lacking for the grass to grow healthy. In most cases this is an easy fix by starting a fertilization program using high nitrogen fertilizer in the spring and fall. If this does not help it does not mean the fertilizer is bad it may just mean there is something else going on in the soil. We can do a simple soil sample to determine what is deficient and address it. We will be covering more about soil samples next week.