We’ve seen a number of diseases this Spring in our lawns. Large patch is the most common disease I find in Centipede and St. Augustine. Last week, Mitchell County Ag Agent, Andy Shirley, found Pythium in Bermudagrass. This week, I was asked to look at another lawn and came across another common disease we see called Fairy Rings (below).
Fairy ring symptoms follow its description well, leaving large rings in the grass. Basidiomycetes of more than 40 species can cause fairy rings. All warm season grasses are susceptible, but it particularly attacks centipede and St. Augustine grass in South Georgia. Sometimes, above ground-mushrooms and puff ball basidiocarps are present. Other casual agents have rings but no fruiting bodies.
Here are some management tips:
- Avoid using root zone mixes with high levels of undecomposed organic materials.
- Reduce thatch by vertical cutting.
- Aerate soil.
- Irrigate deeply.
- Use nitrogen fertilizer to mask symptoms on some types of fairy ring.
- Use soil wetting agents to help penetrate hydrophobic areas.
- No residential fungicides are available to control the disease, but some commercial fungicides can be found. Consult the current Georgia Pest Management Handbook.