- Fairy Ring Control: How To Get Rid of Fairy Ring
- Key Takeaways
- Fairy Rings
- Why do mushrooms grow in rings?
- Fairy Rings in Your Lawn? How to Remove Them and Prevent them Returning
- What Are Fairy Rings?
- Three Different Types of Fairy Rings
- How to Remove Fairy Rings From Your Lawn
- How to Prevent Fairy Rings From Growing in Your Lawn
- To Conclude
- What is fairy ring?
- How can fairy ring be treated?
- Fairy ring
- How do Fairy Rings form?
- How do fairy rings propagate?
- What is Fairy Ring?
- Fairy Rings – Lawns
- Primary symptoms
- Environmental Conditions
for Fairy Rings
Fairy rings are caused by a diverse family of soil-inhabiting fungi called basidiomycetes. They typically appear as dark green circles in the lawn ranging in size from a few inches to 200 feet or more in diameter. Lush rings of turf are formed by the release of nutrients, in particular nitrogen, from the activity of the fungus living on organic matter in the soil. A circle of mushrooms usually develops around the edge of the infected area.
Fairy rings grow outward at the rate of 6 to 24 inches annually depending on grass, soil and weather conditions. They are most common on sandy soils that are low in water and fertility. Thick thatch layers also contribute to this problem.
Besides being unsightly, fairy rings can cause serious damage to lawns. Often the disease will produce a thick fungal mat that prevents water from reaching the grass roots below. Once the soil becomes dry it is very difficult to wet and the grass roots eventually die. The fungus may also deplete soil nutrients and, in some cases, will release a toxic by-product that can directly kill the turf within a ring.
Note: The name “fairy ring” comes from an old folk-tale. People once believed that the mushrooms appeared where fairies had danced the night before.
Recommended products labeled for use against this fungal problem include:
- Physan 20 works on a variety of disease outbreaks affecting lawns, turf and grass. Use 1 Tbsp per gallon of water and thoroughly soak the problem area, repeat as needed. One pint diluted treats 6,400 square feet.
Practices that promote a healthy lawn will help to reduce the occurrence of this turfgrass disease.
- Remove excess thatch and aerate compacted soils.
- Keep lawns well watered.
- Encourage beneficial soil microbes by top dressing with a humus builder such as well aged manure or finished compost.
- Once the disease appears it is very difficult to eliminate — there is NO natural control.
- Homeowners will often mask the problem, using fertilizers rich in nitrogen, rather than eradicate it.
- Mushrooms can be removed by regular mowing or raking.
- Most fungicides have NOT proven to be effective.
- Your mantra should be; fertilize, water, aerate and mow.
Fairy Ring Control: How To Get Rid of Fairy Ring
Fairy Ring is the common term used to describe a fungal disease characterized by rings of mushrooms, lush green circular bands of grass, or rings or arcs of necrotic or dead vegetation in established turfgrass. The symptoms of Fairy Ring can be seen at any time of year, but they often spring up during periods of hot and dry weather, especially in turf that is not being fed with enough fertilizer.
Fairy Ring is caused by a fungus found in soils called basidiomycetes and affects many lawns, parks, and sports fields. This fungal growth feeds on organic matter as it moves throughout the soil and ends up releasing nutrients on your lawn. As a result, the “fairy ring” appears in the form of dark green grass growing in a circular pattern. Mushrooms also grow as a result of the fungal growth and are a clear indicator of the fairy ring fungus on your property.
Fairy Ring is not a serious lawn disease since it does not cause major damage to a lawn, but it is more of an aesthetic issue that you might not want on your lawn if you like it to be neat and uniform.
If you have Fairy Ring on your lawn, there are ways you can tackle the disease and remove it from your property. The following DIY guide features all you need to treat this pesky lawn disease the right way.
Make sure before applying and chemical products to confirm that the disease you have on your lawn is for sure Fairy Ring and not some other fungus. There are three types of common fairy ring symptoms. The first type are fairy rings which result in necrotic or dead turf. The second type of fairy ring symptoms is where the affected area sees stimulated growth of grass which you can see apparent via circular bands of dark green, actively growing turfgrass. The third type of fairy ring symptom is the one that produces mushrooms.
So there you have it; Fairy Ring appears either as an arc of greener grass, an arc of deader grass or a perfect circle of mushrooms. Refer to the image above and our description to help you in identifying Fairy ring. If you are still not totally sure, you can contact us and we’ll help you in correctly ID’ing your issue.
As we mentioned above, fairy ring occurs in rings, arcs or patches that can differ in size significantly. The size often ranges between several inches to several feet in diameter, with large rings reaching 10 feet or more.
What To Look For
Look out for any of three types of Fairy Ring characteristics mentioned in the Identification section. The first type is brown rings of dead turf, the next is green rings of stimulated healthy looking grass which may be darker colored (more nutrient rich) than your typical grass and the last type is the presence of mushrooms.
While it is the most obvious clue that you have Fairy Ring, the appearance of mushrooms may not always be visible with fairy ring. Instead, a layer of white mycelia or a band of dry, brown-orange or yellowish material will be present in the thatch, mat or soil layers.
Once you have observed the areas where Fairy Ring is developing, you will need to immediately get to applying fungicides to the affected areas. Our top recommendation to control Fairy Ring is Consan 20. This product contains the active ingredient Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride which does a great job against Fairy Ring. It’s also cost-effective and one of our more economical fungicides.
Step 1 – Measure and Apply Consan 20
Determine how much Consan 20 you will need by measuring the square footage (length x width) of the treatment area. For lawn treatments, apply 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) per 1 gallon of water. For lawns, treat at the rate of one gallon of solution to 50 square feet (5 ft. x 10 ft.) of lawn.
Equip yourself with a pump-sprayer and mix the Consan 20 with water and apply liberally to the affected areas. The key is to act quickly and apply the Consan 20 where fairy rings have been observed in the past or at the first sign of fairy ring development. Carefully follow the instructions according to the label and retreat if you begin to see symptoms again.
Mixing the Consan 20 with a surfactant (such as Alligare 90 at a rate of 0.33 oz. per gallon) into the soil may be a good idea to address localized dry spots associated with Fairy Ring activity.
Preventive measures of controlling Fairy Ring are much more effective than curing Fairy Ring when your lawn has it established. The best way to prevent fairy ring and other lawn diseases from re-emerging on your lawn is to implement organic practices that promote a healthy lawn. Keep your lawn well watered, mow your lawn regularly and at the correct height, aerate your lawn at least once a year and apply fertilizer in the spring.
- Fairy ring is a fungal disease that appears in the form of either a circular pattern of mushrooms, overgrown grass or dead grass.
- Our go-to fungicide to put a stop to Fairy Ring is Consan 20. The earlier that you treat fairy ring, the better.
- Once your lawn has been treated, cultural practices like regular mowing, watering and applying a nitrogen-rich fertilizer will restore your lawn back to normal and keep Fairy Ring away.
Fairy Rings & Other Mushrooms
by Rob Sproule,
During wet summers people come into the greenhouse everyday asking what they can use to get rid of the mushrooms sprouting in their lawn. The good news is that most species (see below for the exception) won’t harm your grass and will disappear as moisture levels fall. The bad news is that, other than snipping off the toadstools, there’s nothing you can do.
What are they?
Think of the visible portion of a mushroom as a flower. Below it there’s a vast network of microscopic filaments, called hyphae. When hyphae binds together to form a mass of white or dark threadlike growth, it’s called a mycelium. This is what you would find beneath that humble toadstool.
Just like a plant waits for the right conditions to flower, the mycelium waits for sufficient moisture to “bloom” (send up mushrooms). In dry years, the fungus simply waits under the soil for enough rain to fall.
Fungus look small, but when filaments keep threading together they can form massive organisms. A mushroom in eastern Oregon is often described as the largest living thing on earth and covers 2,200 acres.
The white mushrooms in your lawn are feeding off old thatch, buried bits of wood, and other assorted decaying matter that the mycelium is wrapping around. If you have an older lawn, annual aerating to clear out the thatch would be good start to reducing their numbers.
Surface mushrooms are fruiting and their only goal in life is to spread spores. Try to pick them before they can do this, as each of the countless spores they release into the air will become hyphae of their own and will seek to build new underground infrastructure.
When you mow your lawn, you may want to use a bag if they are widespread. Collecting the shredded fungus bits in a bag will keep them, and the developing spores, off the lawn.
There’s no chemical treatment, and the only way to make sure they’re gone is to dig them out. You’ll need to dig up the entire yard down deep enough that you can’t find any more white strands of mycelium. This is often several feet deep.
My advice is to learn to live with them, and if you’re so inclined take the opportunity to learn about fungus and the amazing role it plays in our ecosystem.
While most mushrooms that pop through your grass during wet summers are harmless, some are aggressive enough to damage your lawn. Fairy Rings have always been a sore spot for Alberta gardeners because they are highly visible and devilishly difficult to get rid of.
Fairy Ring is a mushroom species that naturally occurs in arcs. Like all mushrooms, the fungal fibers (mycelia) are mostly underground. Unlike most mushrooms, the fibers get so dense that the lawn can’t get any moisture, which creates a necrotic (dead) zone in your lawn and looks pretty darn awful.
Fairy Ring Folklore
Fairy Rings have a rich folkloric background and have been called Elf Rings, Witches Rings, and Sorcerer’s Rings in Europe. Their tendency to occur in woodland areas have linked them with supernatural stories of fairies and other elusive creatures.
Western European oral traditions are brimming with stories of fairy rings appearing as gateways between our world and the kingdoms of elves and fairies. The sprites would appear and dance within the ring, a space inhabiting both worlds, until they went back to their own world, taking the ring with them.
Keep in mind that lawns weren’t a big thing for medieval Europeans, and fairy rings usually occurred in the woods, which were ripe with their own mysteries. Folkloric stories promised that if you waited at these rings for the elves to return form their earthly mischief, you could catch them on their trip home.
William Shakespeare even wrote about Fairy Rings in his supernatural romp, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” When Puck asks a fairy whither it wanders, it speaks of orbs upon green:
“I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon’s sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.” – Act II, Scene I
How to Get Rid of It
While there are a few ways to deal with it, there are no silver bullets. The first thing to do is pick the mushrooms as soon as they appear; you don’t want them to go to spore. Consider using a mowing bag if you mow over the mushrooms.
The grass above fairy ring dies of thirst because the fungus repels water away. To counter this, jab a deep-root feeder across the ring every few inches. Make sure it gets at least a foot deep.
Soak it well twice a week and you should drown out the fungus. If you don’t have a deep-root feeder a pitch-fork will suffice, although it won’t get as much water down deep.
Add a bit of dish soap to the mix at about a teaspoon/gallon concentration. The fungus doesn’t like nitrogen, so hitting the affected area with a high nitrogen fertilizer will also help.
If that sounds too labour-intensive, it’s not when compared to the option. The only other solution that I know of involves digging out the entire affected area, replacing it with fresh soil, and starting the lawn from scratch.
How deep you have to dig depends on how deep the fungus is. You’ll need to dig out all the white mycelia (you’ll know it when you see it), and even a few inches below the last visible strands.
I’ve heard digging depths of 6 inches all the way to 3-5 feet (yep… a metre). Make sure to dig 12-18 inches out from all sides of the ring, as well.
The name fairy ring comes from an old folk-tale. People once believed that mushrooms growing in a circle followed the path made by fairies dancing in a ring. Fairy rings are found in open grassy places and in forests. In grass, the best known fairy ring fungus has the scientific name Marasmius oreades. The body of this fungus, its mycelium, is underground. It grows outward in a circle. As it grows, the mycelium uses up all of the nutrients in the soil, starving the grass. This is the reason a fairy ring has dead grass over the growing edge of the mycelium. Umbrella-shaped fruiting bodies, called mushrooms, spring up from just behind the outer edge of the mycelium.
Large rings are created when the older mycelium in the center finally exhausts the soil nutrients and dies. On the death of the central mycelium, the nutrients are returned to the soil and grass can grow again. The living edge of the mycelium continues to grow outward. As it grows, it secretes chemicals into the ground ahead. These chemicals break down the organic matter, releasing nutrients so that the mycelium will have food when it reaches this area. For a brief time, the grass at the outer edge of the ring also benefits. The extra nutrients make the grass darker green, taller, and thicker than the rest of the lawn or pasture. This lush grass dies when the mycelium grows under it and steals the nutrients. Fairy rings made by fungi like Marasmius oreades are called “free” rings.
They will continue to grow outward until a barrier is reached. Sometimes the barrier is another fairy ring! Rings can grow into each other’s territory and die as each reaches the other’s “dead zone.” If there are no barriers, free rings can grow outward at up to 8 inches (20 cm) per year. They can reach a diameter of over 30 feet (10 m). One ring formed in France by the fungus Clitocybe geotropa is almost a half mile (600 m) in diameter. This ring is thought to be 700 years old. Mycorrhizal fungi, which live in symbiotic partnership with trees, also form fairy rings. Their rings are called “tethered” rings. A tether is like a leash. The fungus and its mycorrhizal partner tree need each other to survive. The mycelium of these fungi always remains joined to the tree’s roots. Roots are the “tether” that keeps the fairy rings of mycorrhizal fungi from growing too far from their tree.
Why do mushrooms grow in rings?
The summer’s heavy rains have produced a bumper crop of mushrooms-since the last time we mowed our lawn, a three-quarters-around circle of creamy white toadstools has popped up under our silver maple tree.
I, for one, am still delighted to find mushrooms in my yard. It’s a holdover from my childhood, when I liked to think that the toadstools were little thrones where the fairies who lived in my neighborhood held their nightly councils, lit by fireflies. They chose my yard, I imagined, because they knew I was a friend.
Now ready for the truth about why mushrooms really grow in circles, I asked Neil Garrison, naturalist at Martin Park Nature Center.
Garrison turned out to be the perfect choice. He likes to talk about fairies, too.
“The myth, of course, is that this is a fairy ring,” he said. “Some delusional people would have you believe that there are gnomes, elves and fairies flitting hither and yon in the woodlands, and that they meet in council on certain occasions.”
The toads join the fairies and they all use the mushrooms as chairs, on the mushrooms and use them as chairs -hence, the name “toad stools.”
The true facts are far less colorful, but still pretty exciting, Garrison said.
“The toadstools that we are seeing at this time of the year (when it is extra damp, extra humid and the temperatures are moderate) are the fruiting bodies of the organism that is the fungi. The fungi is always present, of course, it is just that it is usually underground and out of sight and out of mind.
“We get fooled into thinking that the fungi is only that above-ground part that we see, but that’s only a small portion of the organism. The purpose of the above-ground part is to do the reproductive functions of the organism. Spore are released from the fruiting bodies (a.k.a. toad stools) and drift away in the wind and eventually land on some dead plant material somewhere and a new colony of fungi gets its start.
“Let’s say that you have a fungi ‘spore’ land on a spot on your lawn. Well, the little fungi immediately sets up shop and starts munching away on the dead grass clippings that you left there after your last lawn mowing session. The first batch of mushrooms will be clustered in a tight, compact spot, not in a ‘fairy ring.’
“But then something happens. The fungi will eventually gobble up all of the dead plants in that one spot in your lawn. They will run out of groceries. They will run out of food.”
So, what’s a mushroom to do?
“Right! Pop up some toadstools above the surface of the soil and throw some of your babies out in a circle beyond this one point where you have extinguished all of the available fungi food,” Garrison said.
“The next batch of toadstools will pop up in that characteristic fairy ring formation. There will not be any toad stools in the very center of the ring because there is no fungi remaining in that central portion where all of the fungi food has been exhausted.
“You can just imagine that this fairy ring just keeps getting larger and larger and larger- and it does,” he said. “Many scientists, in fact, jump in airplanes and get up in the clouds and then look down at the earth and, wow, they see that some of these ‘fairy rings’ are so huge they span hundreds of miles!
“Scientists are of the opinion that this is one organism. One organism! A fungi that is larger than a blue whale! A fungi that is much bigger than an Apatosaurus!
“Want to guess how these “fairy rings” got to be so large?” he asked.
“They are ancient.
“Some scientists say ‘forget all that rubbish about Sierra Nevada bristlecone pine trees being the oldest living things on the planet.’ Giant redwood sequoia trees are just youths if you compare them to the age of the one fungi organism that comprises these large fairy rings.
“That is a difficult concept to grasp, granted, but I am of the opinion that these scientists are probably right on the mark.
“Maybe some of these “fairy rings” that are as large as the state of Washington are something like 5,000 years old. Who knows?
“As for me, I’m keeping my eye on that “fairy ring” in my front lawn,” Garrison said. “How big will it be by the time that I am celebrating my 100th birthday?”
“Make a note,” he said. “Check back with me then.”
A question for Dan Gill: Take a look at the picture (above). I woke up one morning to see this in my neighbor’s yard. They have since cut the grass, and the circle is gone, but do you have any idea what might cause this? Thanks. — Dana Thompson
Answer: This arrangement of mushrooms is called a fairy ring, and you don’t see a perfect ring like this very often. It occurs when a fungal spore lands in a spot and begins to grow. The fungus grows out in all directions evenly creating a circular organism. As the years go by, and the organism enlarges, the middle dies out leaving behind a ring-shaped fungal organism. (If anything disrupts the even, regular enlargement of the fungus, the ring shape is lost.)
When weather conditions are damp, the fungus sends up mushrooms. Since the fungus organism is ring shaped, the mushrooms it produces grow in a circle or ring. It may be a little hard to see, but if you look carefully at the photo, you will notice that the grass in the ring is growing faster and is taller and darker green than the surrounding grass. That’s because the fungus is decaying organic matter and releasing the nutrients to the grass in that area.
You also will see this ring of darker grass even when the mushrooms are not there. When this is an issue, fertilizing the entire lawn will help mask this.
The term fairy ring comes from the old belief that these strange mushroom rings formed when fairies danced in a circle at night. The mushrooms sprang up where their feet touched the ground.
Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.
Fairy Rings in Your Lawn? How to Remove Them and Prevent them Returning
Fairy Rings are also commonly known as Fairy Circles, Elf Rings, Elf Circles or Pixie Rings.
Whatever you want to call them, Fairy Rings are the work of dancing elves.
That’s what European Folklore would have you believe anyway.
In reality, they’re a fungal infection that can cause rings of dead grass and toadstools in your lawn. And in all honesty, they can be a real problem because they can grow in neglected lawns, finely manicured, well looked after lawns and sports turf.
Some fairy rings are very simple to deal with but other can cause major problems and expense.
Table of Contents
What Are Fairy Rings?
A Fairy Ring is a naturally occurring ring of fungi that can produce rings or arcs of dead grass, lush green grass that grows quicker than the rest of the lawn, or mushrooms.
You’ll often see mushroom rings in woods and forested areas where they can be decades old. These rings can grow to over ten meters in diameter.
When you see them in the woods, they’re a pretty spectacular sight and so much folklore surrounds them.
In the UK some would have you believe they’re the work of dancing elves. Go to France and you’ll hear them referred to a ‘Scorcerer’s Rings’. In Germany, some believe they’re the sight of dancing witches while Dutch superstition says the circles show where the devil has churned his milk.
The common superstition is that if you disturb a Fairy Ring you’ll be cursed by whatever created it.
But to me, finding a Fairy Ring in your lawn is the curse itself, because, well, they can be a nightmare!
How Do Fairy Rings Grow?
Fairy Rings grow from a single fungus.
This exists in the soil as lots of strands or filaments called Hyphae. These individual strands of Hyphae make up what is called Mycelium.
This Mycelium spreads out in an arc which is often just a few centimetres across. It breaks down organic matter and takes the nutrients from the soil. In the right conditions, some species of fungi (not all) produce fruit in the form of mushrooms at the edges of the arc. These mushrooms are the reproductive structures of fungi.
This is how mushroom rings are formed.
As times goes by, the Mycelium consumes all the nutrients from the soil and is forced to grow outwards into fresh areas to find more nutrients. Again, when conditions are right, some fungi produce mushrooms.
Sometimes, a complete ring forms as the Mycelium spreads outwards looking for more nutrients.
However, perfect circles are rare.
If the outward growth of Mycelium is disturbed (by a mole, rocks within the soil, or vehicles churning up the ground) the shape can be disfigured.
Three Different Types of Fairy Rings
When the disease appears it’s important to correctly identify the symptoms. There are three types of Fairy Ring which present themselves in three different ways;
- Rings or arcs of dead grass
- Rings or arcs of grass that are greener and grows quicker than the rest of the lawn, or
- Mushrooms ring
Type 1 Fairy Rings
This kind of infection causes rings of dead grass with toadstools at the edges. Usually in the early Summer and Autumn when the soil is moist and temperatures are mild.
The fungi in a Type 1 Fairy ring coats the soil particles with a waxy layer that repels water. The roots of the grass plant are then starved of moisture.
As a result, the soil dries out and runs out of nutrients so the grass dies. This dead grass is more often than not surrounded by lush, green grass. This lush grass appears as the Mycelium advances outwards to break down new organic material.
It is caused by a nitrifying bacteria which releases nitrogen and other nutrients into the soil for the grass to consume. Then, as the fungi coats the soil with its waxy layer, the soil dries out, the grass dies and the Mycelium advances further outwards again.
This dead grass is then a prime area for other problems like weeds and moss to take over.
Type Two Fairy Rings
Type 2 Fairy Rings produce a ring of grass that is greener and grows quicker than the rest of the lawn.
They’re most noticeable in stressed or neglected lawns where the grass isn’t as lush and as thick as it should be.
The lush green ring is produced in the same way as a Type 1 Fairy ring but the difference is that Type 2 rings are confined to the thatch layer. They don’t damage the grass plant or cause the soil to become hydrophobic.
They can sometimes produce Puffball Mushrooms.
Type 3 Fairy Rings
Type 3 Fairy rings are the simplest of them all and very rarely affect the grass at all.
They don’t create bare patches or areas of lush growth. Instead, they create simple mushroom rings. They occur in areas of poor drainage or areas that receive large amounts of rainfall or irrigation.
How to Remove Fairy Rings From Your Lawn
If you have a Fairy Ring or Fairy Rings in your lawn it’s important to correctly diagnose if it a type 1, type 2, or type 3.
Each one requires a different method of treatment.
If You Have Type 1 Fairy Rings
If you find that you have Type 1 Fairy Rings in your lawn then get ready for a battle and potentially some expense.
Your First Course of Action
The fungi that create a type 1 ring coats the soil particles in a water-resistant waxy layer. As such, you need to try and get water into the soil.
Firstly, spike the area thoroughly either with a garden fork, aeration sandals or rolling aerator.
The deeper you can spike the better.
Make sure you spike the ring and a meter either side of it.
Next, you’ll need to apply a wetting agent to help break down the water-repelling properties in the soil.
Finally, water your lawn for at least five days (preferably 10 days) if rain isn’t expected.
Do this in the Spring before the Fairy Ring(s) dry out and repeat the treatment several times during the drier months.
When the lawn starts to respond to the treatment you need to;
- Add a fertiliser to the area, and
- Either re-seed or re-turf the area
Do this before weeds get a chance to establish themselves.
If That Doesn’t Work
If the Fairy Ring(s) are still present and don’t respond to treatment you’ll need to apply a fungicide.
Again, Spring is the best time to do this when the fungi are actively growing.
Fungicides will need to be applied by professional because;
- They aren’t cheap
- A professional will know which fungicide to use based on the fungi in the lawn
Be prepared for the cost to escalate at this point because it regularly takes more than one treatment.
If All Else Fails
If the first two treatments fail you have two options left;
- Dig the area out, including a meter either side of the Fairy Ring. Also, remove the soil to a depth of a meter and replace it before re-seeding or re-turfing. That’s a lot of soil to replace though which can be expensive.
- Your second option is to convert the area into a flower bed. The fungus doesn’t respond well in disturbed soil and will not grow in a flower bed.
If You Have Type 2 Fairy Rings
Type 2 Fairy Rings are little understood and have no known cure. What we do know is they’re confined to the thatch layer. That said, they are fairly easy to blend into your lawn.
The best way to do this is to first remove any toadstools and then scarify your lawn to reduce the amount of thatch.
Once you’ve sacrificed, overseed your lawn and apply a good quality fertiliser (). A dose of iron sulphate from time to time in the drier months will also help. This will keep the rest of the lawn green and healthy.
Then when you cut the grass, it should be barely visible.
If You Have Type 3 Fairy Rings
Type 3 Fairy Rings don’t affect the visual appearance of the grass at all which makes them very easy to deal with.
All you need to do is remove the mushrooms.
How to Prevent Fairy Rings From Growing in Your Lawn
Because fungi is ever-present in your lawn, the potential for Fairy Rings to form is always there.
The fact is that you can’t completely prevent them.
That said, there are things you can do to make their appearance less likely;
Aid Water Penetration by Aerating Your Lawn
It’s important to keep your lawn well aerated to aid water penetration into the soil.
Spike your lawn with a garden fork, aeration sandals or rolling aerator every spring and Autumn.
Removing cores of turf in the autumn with a hollow tine aerator every 2-3 years will also reduce soil compaction. This allows water and air in amongst the soil particles which reduces that chances of certain fungi producing their water repellent, waxy layers.
Reduce Lawn Thatch With Scarification
As you now know, Fairy Rings can form as Fungus feeds on dead organic matter in the thatch layer.
Reducing the amount of lawn thatch will take away some of the food that the fungus feeds on. This, in turn, reduces the chances of Fairy Rings forming.
Scarify your lawn every couple of years to remove excess thatch from your lawn ()
Apply a Wetting Agent in the Dry Months to Keep Soil Moist
Type 1 and Type 2 Fairy Rings cover the soil particles in a waxy, water-repellent layer. If the soil is dry they will have an easier time establishing themselves.
Help the soil to retain moisture by applying a wetting agent during the dry summer months. This will prevent the waxy layer from establishing.
Top Dressing Will Help Break Down Organic Material
To compliment aeration and scarification, top dressing your lawn with a good quality lawn dressing soil will improve drainage, control the build-up of thatch and stimulate new grass growth.
This should be done when the grass is actively growing and will prevent the fungi Mycelium from becoming established in the soil.
These jobs should all be part of a regular lawn care program as well as regular mowing and fertilisation.
Fairy Rings are a problem you really don’t want in your lawn. They don’t look nice at all and can cost a lot of time and money to fix.
Like most things when it comes to lawn care, the prevention of Fairy Rings boils to good lawn care practices.
Aeration, scarification and irrigation are the keys to preventing them.
If you do find yourself with a Type 1 Fairy Ring in your lawn, I don’t envy you. Go through the steps I outlined with patience.
I’d love to hear your stories and see your pictures when it comes to Fairy Rings. If you have a story or any questions, let me know in the comments.
What is fairy ring?
Fairy Ring is one of the most annoying problems in lawns. Fairy Ring is a form of plant life called fungi. The fungus is contained within the soil penetrating as deep as 30cm. The fungus attacks a central point and grows outward. The disease is spread throughout the lawn in the form of spores. These spores are spread by wind, air, water and humans.
The fairy ring disease in a lawn is recognized in early summer by the appearance of circular bands or rings in which the grass is darker green and faster growing than adjacent grass. The bands vary in width from 10-30cm and the rings vary in diameter from 0.9 to 60 metres or more depending on the number of years of undisturbed development. Along the inner margin of such rings the grass soon becomes very much weakened and often dies out temporarily. Consequently, the larger rings usually consist of a dark-green vigorous outer band, which surrounds a band of very weakly coloured grass and then in turn may enclose an area of normal grass in the centre. In small rings the weakened grass may occupy the entire central area.
During periods of wet weather the causal fungus gives rise to fruiting bodies, commonly known as mushrooms and toadstools, along the circumference of the ring.
If you are not certain if you have fairy ring, please call your local Weed Man Professional to have a free healthy lawn analysis to diagnose the disease and inform you of the correct lawn treatment options.
How can fairy ring be treated?
Fairy Ring is a very difficult disease to control. This is due to the fact that the fungus is contained within the soil. The turf can be removed and the underlying soil can be replaced (up to 30cm). This method is very expensive, difficult and not always effective due to re-infestation.
A more practical way for controlling fairy ring is to take a garden fork and poke it into the ring and then water heavily. The water floods the disease and carries it away from the grass plant.
Then top dress and overseed the damaged areas with a more resistant grass variety. The fungus will still be present in the soil so the key will be maintaining a thick healthy lawn that is better able to resist the disease from causing damage. Eliminating the fungus is difficult but with maintaining a thick healthy lawn suppression is practical and effective.
If you have any further questions about fairy ring in your lawn or have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your local Weed Man Professional.
fairy ringOverview of fairy rings.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.See all videos for this article
Fairy ring, a naturally occurring circular ring of mushrooms on a lawn or other location. A fairy ring starts when the mycelium (spawn) of a mushroom falls in a favourable spot and sends out a subterranean network of fine, tubular threads called hyphae. The hyphae grow out from the spore evenly in all directions, forming a circular mat of underground hyphal threads. The mushrooms that grow up from this circular underground mat form a similar pattern above ground. Gradually the underground mycelium at the centre of the circle dies out. Its living outer edges, however, keep growing year by year, and hence the diameter of the ring gradually increases. Over time the ring’s underground segments die out, until the ring form on the surface can no longer be discerned.
The fairy rings commonly formed by the field mushroom (Agaricus campestris) often measure about 6 feet (2 m) in diameter. Marasmius oreades, which is commonly known as the fairy ring mushroom, forms very large but irregular rings that may attain a diameter of 1,200 feet (365 m).
How do Fairy Rings form?
Have you ever seen a fairy ring?
Plantlife supporter Jane and her dog Jed did – a very good one, as it happens – and sent us the photo (above) as evidence.
But what are a fairy rings? And how do they form?
Sadly they are not the work of dancing elves, as European folklore might have it. Instead, they are the result of a single fungus growing in a patch of grassland. Unseen, underground, small threads called mycelium sprout and spread out in a small circle, just a few centimetres across. The next year, the fruiting bodies (that’s the toadstools) form at the edges of this circle, and pop up above ground.
Over time, the mycelium depletes nutrients from where it’s been growing, so it tends to grow outwards into “fresh” grass. This advancing edge is where the fruiting bodies appear each year. Eventually, a complete ring is formed as the circle continues to expand.
Fairy rings can be decades old, but if anything disrupts its outward expansion (a mole digging a hole, rocks underground or even a vehicle churning up the grass) then shape of the circle can be disrupted. This can happen quite often, so perfect circles are rare.
How do fairy rings propagate?
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What is Fairy Ring?
Fairy rings appear as large round patches of discoloured turf, with the perimeter of the patch usually being bright green with a ring of mushrooms around it.
What is Fairy Ring?
A ring of fairies dancing… well not quite, but folklores of the British Isles about fairies are the reason why Fairy Ring has its name. Fairy Rings are in fact fungal formations that can form in your lawn. This fungal disease is particularly important to be aware of if you have mushrooms appearing in your lawn. Fairy rings appear as large round patches of discoloured turf, with the perimeter of the patch usually being bright green with a ring of mushrooms around it.
Why do Fairy Rings occur?
A Fairy Ring will form from mycelium (the vegetative part of a fungus) which has branching white long fibres called hyphae. These hyphae create a circular mat of growth and when two mycelium join they are able to create the fruiting body that produces a mushroom. Fairy Rings usually consist of field mushrooms that form into circles approximately 2 metres in diameter. Soils that are high in organic matter are more susceptible to Fairy Ring. If you have a high amount of thatch it is also possible they may appear.
Mushrooms themselves don’t cause any really harm to your grass, but Fairy Ring does. The mat that forms beneath the surface makes water penetrations to the grass roots difficult and depletes nutrients in the soil. It can sometimes also release a toxin that will kill off the turf within the ring.
Once Fairy Rings occurs it is extremely difficult to eradicate, and most fungicides are not effective.
As there are no specific treatments readily available, the method of treating Fairy Rings is much the same as mushrooms, which you can read more about here.
A well-maintained lawn will rarely see Fairy Ring appear, so regular fertilising, mowing, thatch reduction and aerating will usually ensure it doesn’t occur. When installing a new lawn, make sure you remove dead or dying organic matter like tree roots that may provide a source of food for fungus to grow from.
Fairy Rings – Lawns
Fairy rings are caused by many species of mushroom-forming fungi that cause rings or arcs of dead grass or rings of stimulated grass. These rings are variable in size and are sometimes followed by rings of mushrooms during rainy seasons.
· All turfgrasses can be affected especially when grasses are grown under droughty conditions or when grown in low fertility soils.
Ring of mushrooms in lawn
· The primary symptoms are arcs and rings of thin or dying grass or ribbons of darker faster-growing grass within the turf.
· The areas within the rings are typically drier than the surrounding soil and may be extensively colonized by the white thread-like network of fungal strands of the organism causing the problem. This fungal colonization often renders the soil impermeable to water penetration.
· Fairy rings are variable in size from a few inches to over 200 feet in diameter.
· The rings or arcs typically become larger each year, however, two rings will not cross each other, and on slopes, the bottom of the ring is typically open forming an arc. Ring symptoms may fade during the fall and winter due to turf dormancy.
· Mushrooms may occur suddenly along the outline of the ring, typically when adequate moisture is present, or may not occur for several years.
· Fairy ring symptoms can be visible throughout the year.
· Turf grown under droughty or low fertility conditions appears to be the most susceptible.
· While not a cure, adequate water, and fertilizer applications will often mask fairy ring symptoms. This method involves aeration, deep irrigation, and fertilization. Aeration is necessary to help water and air penetration. Irrigation can be aided by the use of a deep root feeder attached to a garden hose. If available the use of wetting agents is recommended. Irrigation should be repeated at the earliest signs of drought stress. Fertilization rates should be within the University of Maryland guidelines.
· Other more time and money intensive methods involve removing or killing the turf with a nonselective herbicide. Then the area is either thoroughly rototilled before reseeding or the existing soil is excavated and replaced before reseeding.