Fairy rings are a group of diseases in turfgrass that are caused by fungi. There are thousands of fungi that can cause fairy rings. The most common type of fairy ring can be recognised in turf, because it causes the turf to grow dark green, in a ring or arc. Fairy rings can be many years old, and will grow as long as there is turf in which to grow. There are other types of fairy rings that cause the grass to turn yellow, others that can cause a patch of stunted, reddish grass, and others that can cause the grass to wilt and die. You may notice that fairy rings do not grow together when they meet in a lawn. This is how arcs or pieces of fairy rings are formed.
How did my lawn get Fairy Rings?
Fairy rings begin when a fungus starts growing in your turf. What causes a fungus to start growing in turf is not clear to scientists, but often grass that has a thatch layer and is growing on natural soils that receive ample moisture, will develop fairy rings. Fairy rings will grow in finely manicured turfs, sports turfs, golf greens, and unmown grass.
Do fairy ring fungi attack turf?
Generally not, and if they do, they do not kill the grass. However, after the fairy ring fungi have colonised the thatch layer and it starts to dry out, a problem arises for the turf. Turf and thatch that have fairy ring fungi colonising them resist being watered, much like a sponge after it has dried out. Thus, when turf colonised by a fairy ring dries out, it resists being watered. Therefore, this grass often doesn’t get enough water. As a result, this grass suffers from drought, even though the grass outside and inside of the fairy ring grows well. If the drought lasts too long, this grass will be stunted, wilt, and could then die.
What can you do about fairy rings?
There are several things that you can do to avoid or reduce the appearance of fairy rings:
Before you have a fairy ring
- Purchase good quality turf.
- Prepare your soil properly before installing turf or planting grass seed.
When you have a fairy ring in your turf
- Fertilise your grass to reduce the appearance of the fairy ring.
- Ask a professional to treat your lawn with a recommended fungicide.
- Aerate your grass to allow water to reach the grass roots in the fairy ring.
- Once or twice a year, top-dress with quality soil.