Why Is My Grass Red? And How To Get Rid Of It

Wondering why your lawn is turning red? Is your lawn dying or have some issues? The cause can be a fungus disease which is very common on a lawn with cool conditions.

Why does my grass have red tips? The red tips on the grass are due to a fungal disease called red thread. This disease is caused by a fungus present in the lawn called Laetisaria Fuciformis, which favours cool and humid weather. The other cause of red thread disease is the bad health of the soil. You will see red threads growing above the grass leaves. 

The red thread disease is worrying for a lawn owner but there are certain things that you can do to eliminate this disease from your lawn. Let’s talk about these things in detail:

Why Is My Grass Red? And How To Get Rid Of It

What Is A Red Thread?

Red thread disease is one of the common fungal diseases in the lawn. This disease is caused by a fungus called Laetisaria Fuciformis. This disease is most prone in water-soaked lawns in cool and humid weather. You will see some red thread-like branches coming off from the top of the leaves. 

The red thread is sometimes confused with a similar-looking disease called pink patch. Pink patch disease is caused by a different fungus called Limonomyces Roseipellis. Both diseases are very closely related and have similarities in the disease cycle, epidemiology, host range, and appearance.

Identifying Red Thread In Your Lawn

Grass with red thread has reddish-pink threads growing on the tips of the blade, or have small threads growing around the blades. If your lawn is wet, you will notice a dark red colour in the lawn or pink colour when the grass is dry. You will start seeing some small brown colour patches in your lawn which will be around 3 to 7 inches in diameter. The patches will be starting to multiply and cause your lawn to look ugly. 

If you want to be certain that the lawn has a red thread, you will see the grass has dried up and is becoming thin and ugly compared to a normal lawn. The red thread will also make the grass grow in an irregular shape.

What Causes Red Thread?

The main cause of red thread in the lawn is low nitrogen level, which attracts the fungus to attack the soil and thrive. There are other causes of red thread as well. Let’s talk about them in detail.

  • Lawn Nutrition – as low nutrient soil is unhealthy soil, which attracts fungus and other diseases to the lawn. And the red thread is one of the fungi which attracts a low-nitrogen lawn in the cool and wet season. To ensure that your lawn doesn’t get red thread, fertilize your lawn every six months with a slow-release fertilizer.
  • Blunt Mower Blades – if your mower has a blunt blade, then it can cause some uneven cuts to the grass tips. The uneven cuts can make a wound to the plant and can attract fungus-like red thread. Keep the lawnmower blade sharp to make clean cuts to the grass.
  • Lawn Thatch – thatch in the lawn is another cause that can cause red thread in the lawn. The thatch can cause red thread in two ways, the first is that it prevents air and other essential nutrients to penetrate the soil effectively which makes the soil undernourished and unhealthy for the soil which the red thread fungus loves. The other way that thatch causes red thread is because red thread fungus spreads through the thatch, which means thatch helps the red thread to get into the lawn. Dethatch the lawn every two years to make sure you prevent any disease in the lawn.
  • Overwatering – Soaking up lawns due to overwatering is very bad for the lawn as it makes the roots rot and attracts disease into the lawn one of the diseases which love soaked lawns and cool season is the red thread disease. To prevent red thread and keep your lawn healthy, make a watering schedule and do proper watering of your lawn.
  • Low light/shade – if your lawn has some shade then it can cause that area to be damp the whole time and not dry up quickly, which can make the roots rot and attract fungus and other diseases. Try to cut shrubs if you have a tree in your lawn or remove the things which are causing the shade.
  • Cool And Wet Season – red thread commonly develops in the cool and wet season so if your lawn is unhealthy or in a bad condition, then the red thread can eventually build up in your lawn in the cool season. Prepare your lawn in the summer and the spring for the cool season with proper maintenance and fertilization.

Grasses Susceptible To Red Thread

Cool-season grasses are more prone to red thread disease than warm-season grasses. Some of the most common grasses which can have red thread disease are:

  • Fescue
  • Bermuda grass
  • Bentgrass
  • Perennial ryegrass

How To Get Rid Of Red Thread?

There are two ways to treat red thread disease in your lawn. The first way is to use fertilizer and the other is you apply fungicide to your lawn. Let’s talk about both methods in detail:

  • Fertilizer – the main cause of red thread disease in your lawn is due to the low nutrient levels in your lawn, which makes your lawn unhealthy and susceptible to red thread disease. The red thread disease doesn’t kill the grassroots in the lawn, which means the grass can grow back and replace the damaged blades in the lawn. But to grow the grass needs nitrogen which is not present in an unhealthy lawn. 

To eliminate red thread, apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to your lawn, which will make your soil healthy again and will give it the boost to fight the fungus and eventually eradicate it from the lawn.

Apply a fast-release fertilizer for the first time to provide nitrogen as early as possible to the lawn. After the fertilizer has worked and the red thread disease has been removed from the lawn. Apply a slow-release fertilizer to the lawn every six months to keep the soil healthy and prevent the red thread from the lawn.

  • Fungicide – the second method you can use to remove the red thread from your lawn is to use a fungicide in your lawn. There are several fungicides available, but you should use a fungicide that can remove all kinds of fungus in the lawn to make sure the application of the fungicide removes all the fungus from your lawn and not just red thread. You can use BioAdvance Fungus Control For Lawns which is very effective to remove the red thread from your lawn.

Apply the fungicide when the temperature is around 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Apply the fungicide to the whole lawn, and after applying the fungicide, water your lawn lightly to remove the fungicide from the grass blades or it can damage it. Although fungicide is said to be harmless to the grass it can cause some patches in the lawn, which you have to reseed after two to three weeks. 

One thing to keep in mind when applying fungicide to your lawn is to not overuse it in your lawn, or the fungus which is present in the soil can build up resistance to the fungicide, so when next time red threads occur in your lawn the fungicide won’t be able to fight with the fungus and make it very difficult for you to remove the red thread from the lawn.

How To Prevent Red Thread Disease?

The main reason for the red thread in the lawn is unhealthy lawn due to low nitrogen levels or heavy watering. So to prevent red thread in your lawn, you need to maintain your lawn and its nutrient level properly and properly water the lawn, so your lawn doesn’t have excess water in the soil. Let’s discuss all the things that you need to do to prevent red thread in your lawn.

  • Fertilization – fertilization is the key to stopping red thread in your lawn as the main reason for the red thread in the lawn is low nitrogen and low nutrient levels. Apply a slow-release fertilizer every six months to your lawn to keep the nitrogen and nutrient level balanced and your lawn healthy.
  • Proper Watering – to prevent red thread proper watering is very necessary because red thread loves to grow on a wet lawn. Try to water your lawn early in the morning so that the soil can soak up all the water and then the sun can evaporate all the excess water from the lawn. Water deeply and infrequently to make your grass drought resistant and healthy.
  • Mowing – mowing your lawn properly and with sharp blades is very crucial as bad mowing with a blunt blade can cause the grass to attract fungus. Make a mowing schedule and mow your lawn according to that schedule. Keep in mind to never mow more than 1/3rd of the grass or the grass can stress or die.
  • Aeration – Compacted soil can also make your lawn unhealthy and attracts disease to the lawn by blocking essential nutrients and air to the soil. Aerate your lawn every two years with the help of a rake or an aerator to keep your lawn healthy and prevent it from the red thread.

Does Red Thread Kill Grass?

No, red thread doesn’t kill the grass. While the affected area may look like the grass is dying or died due to the disease but the red thread doesn’t kill the grass. The fungus which causes the disease doesn’t affect the roots of the grass, which means the patches you are looking at can grow back themselves as the plant is alive.

How Do I Get Rid Of Red Grass?

To get rid of red grass, fertilize your lawn with high-nitrogen fertilizer because red thread occurs on a low-nutrient lawn. The other thing you can do to remove red thread fast from your lawn is to apply fungicide in your lawn, which will remove the disease faster from the lawn but can cause some temporary damage to the lawn.

What Does It Mean When Your Grass Turns Red?

If you are seeing grass turn red then it’s a sign that your lawn has a fungus disease called red thread disease. The red thread disease is most commonly found in low-nutrient, low-nitrogen level lawns. As the name suggests you will see some red thread around the grass blade.

Will The Red Thread Go Away?

Yes, the red thread will go away on itself when the weather becomes dry and warm. But as the weather takes time to change and become dry, the restoration can take some time and it can cause some damage to the lawn or attract some other disease.