Fairy rings are produced by any one of over 60 species of soil-inhabiting fungi which feed on decaying organic matter (tree stumps, dead roots, construction lumber, thatch). These include soil-inhabiting fungi commonly known for the mushrooms, puffballs and toadstools which they produce. (Warning: Do not eat any type of mushroom which appears on the lawn without first having it identified by a competent authority.)
Signs and Symptoms:
Fairy rings typically appear as circles, arcs or ribbons of darker-green, fast-growing grass. This is partially caused from the release of nitrogen as the fungus breaks down organic matter in the soil to obtain its nutrients. In mild weather, after rains or heavy sprinkling, large numbers of mushrooms or puffballs may suddenly pop up in the circle. As the fungal mass grows underground, the soil will impede water penetration, deplete nutrients essential for turf grass growth, and release toxic substances to the lawn, all of which change the green markings to a ring of brown dormant grass. The rings will grow at a rate of five inches to two feet (or more) each year. Some rings will disappear unexpectedly for a year or more. However, they will reappear usually larger than before.
Practices for Control:
At the present time, there are no products available for treatment and control of fairy ring soil- inhabiting fungi. However, proper applications of fertilizer may mask the darker green grass caused by the fairy ring.
Cultural Practices For Control:
1. Water the area heavily to a depth of 10-24 inches at one-foot intervals, for a distance of 18-24 inches on either side of the ring, using a tree-feeding lance or root-feeding lance on the end of a garden hose. Repeat the watering when symptoms reappear or the grass starts to wilt.
2. Carefully dig out and discard the sod and all infested soil (at least 12” deep and two feet on either side of the ring). Replace the soil in the trench with fresh, clean soil which is free of fairy ring fungi, then reseed or resod.
The Green Pointe staff is always ready to assist you with your lawn. Please call if we may provide any information to enhance your lawn’s health or appearance.
Please call our office if you have any questions or visit our “Questions” page to review other frequently asked questions and answers. (801) 261-1171