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How To Control Fairy Ringfairy ring

While not as serious as other lawn diseases and fungi, fairy rings can cause an ugly eyesore on your lawn and be annoying to homeowners who want their turf to be nice and uniform. There are between 30 to 60 different types of fairy ring fungi and when present on your lawn they have the potential to become very dense and kill grass.

Fairy rings are caused by a fungus which tends to inhabit soils called basidiomycetes and affects many lawns, parks and sports fields. This fungal growth as it moves throughout the soil feeds on organic matter that is in the soil and this is releasing nutrients on your lawn. As a result, the “fairy ring” appears in the form of dark green grass growing in a circular pattern. Mushrooms also grow as a result of the fungal growth and are clear indicator of the fairy ring fungus on your property.

It is not known for sure how this kind of lawn disease makes itself established or what conditions favor their development. However, they seem to be more prevalent on sandy under-watered soils or turf that is poorly fertilized. Like most other types of turf diseases, fairy rings usually don’t develop as often in highly maintained lawns.

If you have a case of fairy ring on your lawn, Solutions Pest and Lawn can provide an assist in the form of professional grade fungicide products and free expert advice.

Browse our fairy ring control products below. If you have any questions or concerns, send them our way via email, phone, or online live chat and we will be sure to get back to you with the help you need.

How To Get Rid of Fairy Ring: 3 Step Solution

Controlling fairy rings can prove to be a difficult task. As is the case with most outbreaks of lawn disease, a healthy, well-maintained lawn is the best defense against many lawn diseases such as fairy ring. The most important factor in treating a lawn disease is timing. Identifying and treating a fungus like fairy ring early can save your lawn and garden. Below we have outline 3 simple steps you can implement to treat fairy ring.


Step One: For starters, be sure that the disease or fungus that is occuring on your lawn is indeed fairy ring. Identifying the disease correctly will help you to treat the problem properly as there are some fungicides which specifically target fairy ring while other fungicides will fail to sufficiently take care of the problem. If you’re not entirely sure or confident in self-identifying, get in touch with us and take a photo of the grass and send to identification@solutionsstores.com and we will respond back with a correct ID of the fungus and recommend you products and tips to treat the disease correctly.


Step Two: Once you are for certain that the problem on your lawn is fairy ring, you can then proceed with treatment. We have a variety of professional grade fungicides which can adequately take care of a fairy ring outbreak.  Equip yourself with a pump-sprayer and mix the fungicide with water and apply liberally on the affected areas. The key is to act quickly and apply the fungicide where fairy rings have been observed in the past or at the first sign of fairy ring development. Carefully follow the instructions according to the label and retreat if you begin to see symptoms again.


Step Three: Once fairy ring has been cleared from your lawn, you will want to keep it that way. The best way to prevent fairy ring and other lawn diseases from re-emerging on your lawn is to implement organic practices which promote a healthy lawn. Keep your lawn well watered, mow your lawn regularly and at the correct height, aerate your lawn at least once a year and apply fertilizer in the spring.


Learn More About Fairy Ring

Unless you’re one of the Super Mario brothers, the sight of mushrooms popping up on your lawn is not something to be excited about. That’s exactly what happens when a lawn develops a fungal disease known as fairy ring.

Fairy ring is the common term used to describe rings of mushrooms, lush green circular bands of grass, or rings or arcs of necrotic or dead vegetation in established turf grass. The symptoms of fairy ring can be seen at any time of year, but they often spring up during periods of hot and dry weather, especially in turf that is not being fed with enough fertilizer.

There are three types of common fairy ring symptoms. The first type are fairy rings which result in necrotic or dead turf. The second type of fairy ring symptoms actually does the opposite. Rather than killing turf, fairy rings stimulate the growth of grass which you can see apparent via circular bands of dark green, actively growing turfgrass. Soil water repellency and localized dry spot conditions are often associated with both of these fairy ring symptom types.  

The third type of fairy ring symptom is the one which produces only mushrooms. So there you have it. With fairy ring you either get an arc of greener grass, an arc of deader grass or lastly a perfect circle of mushrooms.

Now fairy ring is not a serious disease in the sense that it will cause a major amount of damage to your lawn, but it is more of an aesthetic issue which you might not want on your lawn if you like it to be uniform.

Have A Lawn Problem Other Than Fairy Ring? Check out Our Lawn Care Main Category!

Why Does Fairy Ring Appear?

The key culprit to the appearance of fairy ring is fungi. The most common fairy ring mushroom is known as the scotch bonnet and like most fungi, the bulk of its body is it’s mycelium and its underground.

The mycelium is kind of like a subterranean tree with thousands of fine, branch-like structures that grow outward in a circle. As it expands underground, the mycelium releases chemicals that break down organic matter in the soil nearby so it has food by the time it grows there and since by doing that it’s basically fertilizing the soil as it goes, the grass above the leading edge of the mycelium, for a short time, has more nutrients available than usual, which creates rings of rich thick green grass.

When the mycelium reaches the enriched soil though, the party is over, because the fungus absorbs all of the nutrients out of the soil and the grass above it eventually dies. And its at this point, as the fungus matures, that you see the stuff you probably think of when you think of fungus.

Mushrooms being to sprout, which are actually known as the fungus’s fruiting bodies. They’re like the fruits of a tree. They generate and release spores that the fungus uses to reproduce. In some cases, unless there’s some physical barrier to stop it,  a fairy ring can grow for years and years and cover huge areas.  One fairy ring in France was measured to be some 600 meters wide!

It’s important to note now that fairy ring can also be used to describe a different phenomenon. Redwood groves can also grow in something called a fairy ring. They’re completely different, caused when shoots sprout up from the base of a fallen tree. This is not the same as the fairy ring which you will commonly see appear on a residential lawn or a golf course.

In the deserts of Numibya meanwhile, grasses have been found to grow in rings caused by sand termites that live underground. The termites spread out in a circle, eating the roots of all the grasses they come across. This helps the soil retain water, which nourishes the grass at the perimeter of the circle. Again, it looks similar but is not the same as fairy ring because of the circumstances involved.

How To Inspect For Fairy Ring

As we mentioned above, fairy ring occurs in rings, arcs or patches that can differ in size significantly. The size often ranges between several inches to several feet in diameter, with large rings reaching 10 feet or more.

Also as we mentioned above, you are to look out for any of three types of fairy ring characteristics which are used to help describe symptoms and associated turf damage; The first type is brown rings of dead turf, type 2 is green rings of stimulated healthy looking grass which may be darker colored (more nutrient rich) than your typical grass and the last type is the presence of mushrooms.

While it is the most obvious clue that you have fairy ring, the appearance of mushrooms may not always be visible with fairy ring. Instead, a layer of white mycelia or a band of dry, brown-orange or yellowish material will be present in the thatch, mat or soil layers.

The level of fairy ring activity present on your turf is important information to know before proceeding with fungicide treatment. Aggressive turf management with minimal water, nitrogen and low mowing heights can increase fairy ring symptom severity. During mid-summer heat stress, fairy ring can quickly move from the type 2 green healthy rings to type 1 rings of dead grass.

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How To Approach Treatment of Fairy Ring

Fairy ring symptoms on lawns and golf courses have been treated by using a combination of cultural control methods and the use of fungicides. When using fungicides it has been observed that pairing the fungicide mixture with a surfactant (or wetting agent) has shown the most success.

Despite these options, achieving reliable and consistent elimination of fairy ring has proven to be difficult. For many years, there was a large void in fungicides available which could sufficiently be used to treat the basidiomycete fungi that causes fairy ring. More recently, more fungicides have been tested and developed.

Some of these new formulations include azoxystrobin knows as Heritage Fungicide; a combination of azoxystrobin and propiconazole called Headway G Fungicide ; and Consan 20 Fungicide.

By aerating your lawn, mowing vertically and routinely sand topdressing your lawn are a few cultural practices you can implement which will reduce the amount of thatch and organic matter on your lawn which will lessen the severity of fairy ring on your turf. Aerating your lawn via using needle tining or spiking can also improve overall drainage in your lawn and gas exchange according to a guide created by Bayer.

A few other things you can do is improve your watering of the lawn (frequency and the amount), fertilizing and changing the mowing height. These actions greatly influence fairy ring symptoms because fairy ring is usually prevalent on lawns that have thing, slow growing grass and grass that isn’t getting enough nitrogen. You should definitely test the nitrogen levels of your lawn and evaluate to see if that is an issue and then combat it by applying a fertilizer product to your lawn to give your grass the sufficient nitrogen it needs.

Placing a surfactant into the soil may be a good idea to do to address localized dry spot associated with fairy ring activity. Apply surfactants on a regular basis but space them two weeks apart from any fungicide applications you’ll be putting down.

We do want to mention that preventive measures of controlling fairy ring is much more effective than curing fairy ring when your lawn has it established. When it comes to what type of the year to start applying fungicides to treat fairy ring, it should be around when the soil temperature reaches between 55-60°F (uses a 5-day average soil temperature at a 2-inch depth).

Research at NC State University showed first preventive fungicide application at soil temperatures of 55, 60, 65 or 70°F resulted in successful fairy ring control. In southern regions such as in Texas and Florida timings are suggested to use a 65- 70°F soil temperature for the first preventive application (delays first app. approximately 1 month) to help extend fairy ring prevention during summer.

Heritage  is a great fungicide to use in the summer on bermudagrass greens because it also provides suppression of fairy ring fungi and is a non-DMI chemistry with no plant growth regulation (PGR) properties. DMI fungicides can have plant growth regulation effects on ultra dwarf greens and need to be carefully used.

For ultra dwarf greens,Headway G Fungicide provides bermudagrass additional DMI tolerance. Either of these fungicide products can be applied either alone or together as part of a multi-application program with proven effectiveness.

Applications should be made at 2-4 gallons spray volume with flat fan nozzles and watered-in to the depth of the fairy ring as needed within 10 hours of application. Heritage provides early-season dollar spot control which is an important disease of seashore paspalum and can also affect bermudagrasses and zoysiagrasses. It can also reduce summer stresses on turfgrass, such as mid-day wilt caused by fairy ring and localized dry spot. Heritage applications in the fairy ring program are suggested in late spring and early summer; this will also help prevent other plant pathogenic basidiomycete fungi which includes Rhizoctonia spp.

Additional Resources:

UC IPM: UC Management Guidelines for Fairy Ring on Turfgrass

Fairy Ring — Center for Turfgrass Science — Penn State University

Fairy Ring | NC State Extension - TurfFiles - NC State University

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