Please be sure to read the product label of any insecticide you choose to use to get information on the personal protective safety gear you will need. In most situations, it is recommended that you wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt, closed toe shoes with socks, chemical resistant gloves, and goggles. In areas where ventilation is poor, a manufacturer may recommend you wear a mask or a respirator. We have put together two different safety kits that will make selecting the correct safety gear easier for you.
Red Thread is a lawn disease that is sometimes only cosmetic, but that can cause turf damage if left untreated. This fungal infection can be treated with both soil amendments and chemical controls. Learn more about our recommended treatment options below.
Check Your Soil's Nitrogen Levels and Fertilize to Fight Red Thread
In many cases, the appearance of Red Thread lawn disease is a direct result of a lack of nitrogen in the soil. By assessing the status of your lawn and the soil underneath you can confirm whether a nitrogen deficiency or some other imbalance is the blame for the unwanted growth.
To get started on treating your lawn for Red Thread disease, use a home soil test kit to take samples of the soil as it exists today. Your local extension service office can help you interpret the results and determine which macronutrients may be missing.
If nitrogen levels are low, select a fertilizer that is labeled for use on your turf type and region and that offers boosted levels of nitrogen in its formulation. To better understand the N-P-K levels of lawn fertilizers, check out our Fertilizer Buyer's Guide and consider the products listed below.
Once you have found the right fertilizer for your lawn, confirm the best rate of application by following any labeled directions and any available guidance from your local extension service or master gardener. A common guideline for this type of application is to fertilize with a quick-release nitrogen product at a rate of 1/2 to 1 pound per 1,000 square feet, but you should follow the recommended rate that is specific to your lawn's numbers for the best results.
If you have spotted Red Thread on your cool-season turf lawn during the summer months, be mindful of the amount of nitrogen that you add. Cool-season turfs can be treated with a low-nitrogen amendment like iron additives or a lower-nitrogen organic fertilizer without the risk of encouraging additional fungus growth, but over-application of nitrogen under warmer conditions could trigger other fungal issues such as Brown Patch fungus. During cooler weather, your cool-weather turf would appreciate the use of a synthetic fertilizer that is higher in nitrogen content for fighting Red Thread that is present.
Apply a Fungicide to Control Stubborn Red Thread Growth
The fertilization technique described above will control Red Thread disease in most residential lawns, but in cases of extreme infestation or in areas of high-value turf such as golf courses, playing fields, and other sports fields, application of a chemical fungicide can minimize or control the symptoms of Red Thread. These types of turf are most likely to suffer more extreme fungal damage during wet weather.
QoI-type fungicides (FRAC Group 11, often using the active ingredient azoxystrobin) and DMI-type fungicides (FRAC Group 3, often including the active ingredient propiconazole) are effective choices for fighting this red and pink lawn disease. To lower the risk of resistance build-up in the treated area, it is important to consider a rotation plan utilizing fungicides from different FRAC Groups. Learn more about FRAC codes and how they can guide your selection of fungicides used in the video below.
Always be sure to wear the appropriate PPE including long pants and sleeves, closed-toe shoes and socks, and gloves when mixing or applying any fungicide product.
A fungicide labeled for use against Red Thread disease can be applied in the spring or fall and should usually be applied when the red or pink threads (sclerotia) are visible on your turf. Follow all labeled instructions completely when making the application. Considering the labeled application rates and timing, rotation with another fungicide may be needed. Always confirm compatibility between products, turf types, and any other involved plants before beginning such a plan.