How To Identify & Treat Red Thread

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A luscious green lawn is the pride of any homeowner, but the appearance of red or pinkish patches can be concerning. If you've noticed these colorful threads invading your grass, it's likely red thread disease. Red thread is a common fungal disease affecting lawns, particularly during cool, wet weather. It appears as circular patches of reddish-pink discoloration on the blades of grass, which can quickly spread and cause significant damage if left untreated. In this guide, we'll break down the identification and treatment of red thread using simple yet effective strategies for a healthier lawn.

Identifying Red Thread

Fortunately, red thread is fairly easy to identify. Below is a list of red thread characteristics to help you quickly identify the disease.

  • Patchy Discoloration: The most obvious symptom is the presence of circular patches of reddish-pink discoloration on the grass blades. These patches can vary in size, ranging from a few inches to several feet in diameter. 
  • Pink Threads: When wet, the affected grass blades may develop thin, pink threads emanating from the base, resembling fungal mycelium. 
  • Dry Grass: As the disease progresses, the affected grass blades will dry out and turn straw-colored.
  • Impact on Growth: Red thread can cause the grass to become stunted and thin, creating an uneven and patchy appearance.
  • Specific Symptoms: In some cases, the patches may have a white or gray center surrounded by a reddish-brown border.
  • Environmental Clues: Red thread thrives in cool, wet environments. If you have experienced prolonged rain or high humidity periods, your lawn is more susceptible to this fungal disease.

Treating Red Thread

If you have identified red thread in your lawn, don't despair! Here are some effective treatment methods:

Cultural Practices

  • Remove & Destroy Infected Grass: Rake up and dispose of affected grass clippings and debris to prevent the spread of spores.
  • Promote Air Circulation: Aerate your lawn to improve air circulation and drainage. This will help the soil dry out more quickly, making it less hospitable for the fungus.
  • Adjust Watering Practices: Avoid overwatering your lawn, especially during periods of cool, wet weather. Water deeply but less frequently to encourage healthy root growth.
  • Maintain Proper Mowing Height: Mow your lawn appropriately for your grass type. This will help to shade the soil and discourage the growth of the fungus.
  • Fertilize Properly: Apply a balanced fertilizer according to your lawn's specific needs. Proper fertilization will help to strengthen your grass and make it more resistant to disease.


In severe cases, you may need to use a fungicide labeled for the control of red thread. Choose a product containing a broad-spectrum fungicide, such as thiophanate-methyl or propiconazole. Always follow the instructions on the label carefully.

Promoting Long-Term Health

Creating a healthy and resilient lawn is the best way to prevent red thread. Here are some tips:

  • Choose Resistant Grass Varieties: When planting a new lawn, choose grass varieties known to be resistant to red thread.
  • Perform Regular Maintenance: Mow, fertilize, and water your lawn regularly to promote healthy growth.
  • Monitor Signs Of Disease: Inspect your lawn regularly for any signs of red thread or other fungal diseases. Early detection is key to successful treatment.

Additional Tips

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when dealing with red thread.

  • Bag Your Grass Clippings: This will help to prevent the spread of the fungus.
  • Limit Foot Traffic On Your Lawn: This can damage the grass and make it more susceptible to disease.
  • Dethatch Your Lawn: Dethatching will remove excess thatch, which can create a favorable environment for the fungus to grow.
  • Seek Professional Help: If you struggle to control red thread, contact a professional lawn care company for assistance.

Identifying and treating red thread doesn't have to be complex. You can regain control and revive your lawn's health by incorporating simple lawn care practices and targeted solutions. Keep a watchful eye, implement proactive measures, and your lawn will return to its vibrant green self in no time. With a balanced approach to lawn maintenance, you'll ensure a beautiful and resilient outdoor space for your enjoyment.

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