Garden Advice

What is The Red Thread Lawn Disease and How to Cure it?

When it comes to keeping your lawn in good condition, disease control is really important. Not all grasses are vulnerable to the same diseases, and sometimes even a well managed and healthy lawn can be affected by fungal outbreaks. Here in the UK, it rains quite often, and when the weather is favourable, numerous fungi can develop, especially if your turf is under stress.

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So, if you see:

  • Patches of light brown and bleached turf;
  • Small and pink cottony flocks on the turf;

Then yes, you are looking at the red thread disease. So, keep on reading to find out how to combat it.

What is the red thread lawn disease?

The red thread is one of the common lawn diseases that we notice in the UK. It is caused by the fungus Laetisaria fuciformis, which stays dormant in the soil or thatch layer until provided with the conditions it needs. 

This particular lawn fungus adores humid and mild weather and temperatures between 15 – 25 degrees Celsius. That’s why it attacks in late spring to summer and can persist into winters if the weather is humid.

The red thread disease tends to be more of an annoyance than a fatal disease, as it doesn’t kill the root of the grass and usually, your lawn is quite healthy. But it causes the grass leaf to die, thus giving the lawn a patchy and ugly appearance.

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What causes read thread in your lawn?

Some lawns and grass types tend to be more prone to red thread than others. The way we take care of our lawn can alter its malleability and resilience to the fungus. The red thread fungus will affect underfed and unhealthy grass, but we also noticed it on some of the UK’s healthiest and best-kept lawns. 

Most of the time, the victims of red thread are lawns with lower fertility levels, particularly lacking in Nitrogen. When the plants experience slower growth due to the lack of Nitrogen, the disease becomes more widespread. If an area of lawn is fertilized, but some parts remain unfertilized, you will get more damage from the disease in this area. That’s why, make sure to fertilize your lawn evenly and regularly. Also, the following conditions may increase the severity of the attacks:

  • Lawns that are overwatered, especially frequent evening watering.
  • Young lawns that have not had the chance to build stability.
  • Lawns that are stressed by drought or heat.
  • Old and tamped lawns.

How to get rid of red thread in your lawn?

Most of the outbreaks can be cured by simply fertilizing the lawn. Well-preserved roots and grass can outgrow the damage, and the ugly spots can disappear. Note that red thread treatment can take a few years to completely stop it from coming back again and again.

The most important red thread control measure is to maintain nitrogen and potassium in the turf to promote growth. Do not apply after August, otherwise, you risk the production of soft and vulnerable growth. 

Treating red thread with chemicals is not necessary, and not recommended in residential lawns. Most lawns recover in time, but they look faded for a while. However, if the invasion is very severe, there is the option to apply a fungicide. Before the use of fungicide, make sure that you really have the red thread disease in your turf and consult a professional lawn expert

In general, if you take good care of our lawn and apply Nitrogen regularly, there will be no need for fungicides. Sometimes your lawn may still get attacked, but it won’t be as bad as an unfertilized one.

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How to prevent red thread in your lawn?

The best way to control red thread disease is to avoid the conditions it likes. Even if you can’t control the temperatures, at least you can control the drainage. Feed and mow your lawn regularly, and in addition:

  • Remove and brush your lawnmower blades after mowing to stop the disease from spreading.
  • Water infrequently but deeply and only when there is drought
  • Regularly check the soil condition and if it’s poor, consider replacing it. Don’t let the grass struggle to grow as it will be more vulnerable to attack.
  • Improve the airflow to relieve compaction and reduce the shade to improve drying.


  • Red thread disease is one of the most common fungal diseases of turf in the UK.
  • It is not necessary to use fungicides for the control of this disease.
  • The best way to control red thread disease is to avoid the conditions it likes.
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