Red thread appears in turf

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

Appearing this week in turf – red thread. It seems that every year we see a bit of red thread, especially following the seedhead production period when the plant is probably looking for a little extra food. Fine fescues and perennial ryegrass typically are susceptible to some red thread infestation, but I’ve been seeing it in Kentucky bluegrass. Red thread is easily identified by the pinkish-red mycelium that is threadlike and surrounds the leaf blade. In some extreme cases it might remind you of miniature balls of pink cotton candy. The areas infected by red thread will die and the turf may appear wilted. Red thread can be mistaken for dollar spot in turf as the patchy type kill is very similar. This is one of those diseases you need to get on your hands and knees to check out to make sure you know that it is red thread. Fungicide applications are usually not necessary in dealing with red thread; a fertilizer application will often help the turf outgrow the damage.

red thread
Photo 1.
Pink cotton candy-like red thread.

red thread
Photo 2.
Pinkish-red mycelium that is
threadlike and surrounds the leaf blade.

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