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May 28, 2018 | Lawn Care Tips

Ways of Fairy Ring Treatment

Ways of Fairy Ring Treatment

Fairy ring is a round mycelium, which is formed by mushrooms in height from two to five centimeters. There are more than 50 kinds of fairy rings. The filamentous fungi live in the upper layer of the turf and expect optimal development conditions. The plexus of the fungus-pathogen circulates under the soil.

On the surface of the ground, you see only a yellow or dark green circle. Sometimes fruit bodies grow in this circle. The fungal mycelium grows at the same speed from the center to the periphery, forming a circle. Over time, the central part of the mycelium dies due to lack of nutrition, and the farthest continues to bear fruit. The water-repellent mycelium hinders the fairy ring fungus control.

Therefore, the entire soil layer, permeated with a mycelium, should be well loosened by rakes. Then the lawn needs to be thoroughly poured. The ideal time for processing is spring and autumn.

The appearance of fairy ring does not indicate a poor quality of the lawn. Any roll lawn before its cutting grew in conditions close to natural, and fungi spores had many chances to get on it. Most fungi growing on the lawn, although not dangerous to humans, are not edible either.

In order to get rid of the fungi that have grown on the lawn, you will need to do the following:

  • Aeration of the soil
  • Decrease watering
  • Calcareous flour and sand
  • Copper vitriol

About fairy ring fungicide

The reasons for the appearance of fairy rings are known today. But before they caused awe.

In folklore, the most fantastic explanations for these phenomena were found. There was an opinion that these rings appeared after a lightning strike, or they were the result of the activity of moles, digging their way in a circle. But this phenomenon is easily explained.

Fungi spores, getting into a favorable environment, germinate with thin threads inside the soil, which form a mycelium, intertwining with each other. In a temperature and moisture-favorable conditions, mycelium widely and rapidly grows, lying at a shallow depth.

The mycelium grows radially, increasing by 10–30 cm per year. The inner part gradually dies, forming the very circles, the grass in which does not grow. In favorable places, the life cycle of these rings can last for hundreds of years if no one disturbs them. The largest rings with growth form St. George’s mushroom, some kinds of champignons, clitocybe, and lycoperdon. Clitocybe and the Scotch bonnet emit a lot of prussic acids, it also destroys all the grass in the circle so that the mycelium can digest it.

Some species of fungi, including Tricholoma, form a very powerful mycelium, raising and deforming the surface of the lawn. In this case, only removing the soil 10–30 cm deep will help.

Here is Dr. Dernoeden’s video on different types of fairy ring:

Causes of fungi on the lawn

Growing fungi can enrich the soil with biologically active substances and minerals that are useful for insects living in the ground and plants. Their mycelium, which lives underground, quickly recycles old roots, faded grass, and fallen leaves. Mycorrhiza is useful for all plants. But it often happens that due to the presence of fungi, some nutrients in the soil become more than necessary. As a result, on the once beautiful lawn, there is darkened grass. The possible prevention of this trouble – the use of organic fertilizers.

A formed grass cover should be cleaned regularly, not allowing the grass to grow. When laying a lawn, one should try to avoid peat soils, on which fungi appear very quickly. As for fertilizers, it is best to use only nitrogen and strictly according to the instructions.

The appearance of the mushroom rings in grass most often signals that the soil on the site is excessively damp and heavy or with an acidic environment. But at the same time, it is a well-known fact that fungi will not grow in an unfavorable environment and their appearance on the lawn indicates that the lawn soil is healthy and balanced.

When the lawn is cut, often the roots of mycorrhizas get in its upper layers, which begin to germinate with fungi, responding to lawn care, since the lawn is well watered and even combed after cutting. But this mycelium doesn’t have the strength for the full development, and once appearing, the mushrooms will forever disappear from the lawn. Again, they appear only if the lawn is too wet.

Nutritive soil for fungi

Fairy rings are formed by fungi of various kinds. A dense plexus of fungal cells takes so much water from the soil that the grass on the lawn simply dries up. The reason for the appearance of such circles may be poor nutrients, sandy soils, undecomposed organic matter in the grass cover, and poor aeration of the soil.

Signs that your lawn is suffering from fairy rings

There are three types of formation of rings in the yard:

  1. Fairy rings destroy or severely damage the grass. There are two circles, consisting of a grass of dark green color, between which is a ring of bald patches with dead grass.
  2. Toadstool ring is much more noticeable – in its area, the grass grows faster and has a dark green color. Sometimes you can see the mushrooms themselves.
  3. The third type includes rings with high, dark green grass and randomly scattered mushrooms.

All three types are characterized by the appearance in the ring shape of a dense plexus of a white mycelium with a characteristic smell of mold.

How to get rid of fairy rings in the lawn

It’s not always recommended to use chemicals in the fight against mushrooms on the lawn since there are no means that will destroy the mushrooms and will be safe for grass. It is best to get rid the fungi by hand, and then greatly reduce the watering. Fungi can only exist on moist soils that are rich in organic matter, and if the lawn is clean and almost dry, they are unlikely to grow there again.

It is not enough to simply remove the ground part of the fungus because the reproductive organ is underground. It is necessary to find and eliminate the reason for what causes fungi appear on the lawn. The nutrient medium for fungi is created from old humus: decaying remains of trees, animal droppings. If you remove all the garbage in a timely manner, there will be no reasons for the formation of the mushrooms. The same applies to old stumps, which should be uprooted. But if the stump performs a decorative function, you can treat it with septic tanks.

If all the above measures are taken, but the mushrooms are still growing on the lawn, soil replacement can help. The base of the formed notch is sprinkled with ash or dolomite flour and mixed with the top layer. Leave it for 1–2 days, and then further treat the soil with copper sulfate. The site is monitored for 2 weeks, and when mushrooms appear, all operations are repeated, removing another layer of soil. If the mushrooms do not appear, the groove is filled with river sand, and a fresh lawn is laid on top.

The problem is easier to prevent than to solve, and therefore in the early spring, it is recommended to carry out aeration of the turf. This is piercing the soil with special forks or rolling rollers with needles 3–10 cm long. This promotes penetration of air and moisture to a greater depth and prevents rotting processes. For each application, the forks and needles of the rink should preferably be disinfected in a 3% solution of copper sulfate, this will prevent further spread of the mycelium. The same disinfection should be carried out with all tools used on this lawn.

We also recommended to watch an amazing Youtube video from SciShow (5+ million subscribers) on Fairy Ring disease:

Water helps against fungi

As effective measures, the method of loosening and abundant irrigation of the soil in the area of fairy rings has proved to be well established. This method gives the best results in spring or autumn. Growing mushrooms on the lawn indicate that the soil is heavy and waterlogged. It is necessary to carry out aeration of the turf – pierce it to a depth of approximately 10 cm, this can be done with normal forks. Then abundantly water the affected area and keep it moistened for a week.

If in the area of fairy rings there are damage to the grass due to drying, this area can be watered by adding potash soap and alcohol or a special moisturizing agent to better hydrate the water-repellent mycelium. Together with this, it is necessary to conduct aeration of the lawn and make autumn fertilizers for lawn grass.

Control measures due to proper care

If, after repeated attempts, this method has not yielded positive results, then replacing the soil can instill confidence in the successful outcome of the case. If you are not in a hurry, you can try to pick up the mushrooms, regularly removing the sod layer and then applying a 2–3-centimeter layer of sand. Try to constantly provide lawn grass with nutrients, especially potassium. After successfully eliminating the fairy rings, the remaining bald spots on the lawn can be sowed with fresh grass.

Preventive measures against fairy rings

Unfortunately, there is no 100% protection from this disease of the lawn, however, following the rules of care, it is possible to significantly increase the endurance of lawn grass and even stop the further growth of the mycelium. You should be careful with a balanced supply of lawn with nutrients so that in the future there is not too much turf. Non-decomposed remains of mown grass on the soil surface are an ideal breeding ground for mushroom spores.

It is recommended to regularly remove the turf with an aerator and fertilize the lawn once or twice a year with special long-acting fertilizers. By the way, we already have guides on How to Choose the Right Fertilizer + 5 Best Our Pick. Since fungi actively develop with a lack of potassium in the soil, it is necessary to add autumn fertilizers for lawn grass rich in potassium in the late summer. Increasing the volume of potassium strengthens the grass and increases its frost resistance.

It is worth noting that fairy rings are very stable. Cutting the fruit body does not destroy the fungus itself but reduces its ability to colonize other parts of the lawn. The use of conventional fungicides solves the problem. There is another problem – chemicals can destroy useful mushrooms together with the killer rings. This is not recommended because useful mushrooms also feed on the undecomposed organic matter in the soil and can, therefore, become a natural competitor to annoying fungi in the fight for a food source.