The Q&A Archives: What is the best way to get rid of red thread in lawn?

Question: We seem to have recurring red thread every year in our lawn. I know it starts in humid hot conditions, but it never seems to clear up. What is the best remedy for red thread? It is a very sunny front lawn.

Answer: Red thread occurs under certain weather conditions and there is not much we can do to change the weather. However its development can sometimes be limited by making sure to fertilize adequately with nitrogen (run some basic soil tests to determine how much is needed, do not overfertilize), keep the pH about 6.5 or 7.0 (test your soil to check, add lime if needed), removing clippings from the lawn when symptoms are present, and -- if you water -- by watering deeply less often rather than sprinkling lightly more frequently; water in the early morning rather than afternoon/evening. If you use a lawn service, make sure they disinfect their equipment and shoes between lawns. Also, some grasses such as red fescue and perennial rye are more susceptible to it than others so that may be part of the problem. Also be sure the lawn is receiving adequate sunlight and good air circulation. Finally, compacted soil can add to stress making the grass more susceptible to problems, so you might consider doing a core aeration and top dressing with good quality compost to remedy that. Your Rutgers county extension should be able to help you with the soil testing and interpreting the results.

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