There are many common lawn diseases that regularly attack Illinois turf, but few are more difficult to control than fairy ring. Fairy ring attacks all turf grass types that are common to the Chicago area and it can be caused by different types of soil-inhabiting fungi. The fungi live within the thatch and soil and spend the year feeding on grass plants and destroying their plant cells. The disease is most prevalent near decaying organic matter such as a stump or excess thatch and it is most likely to occur in nutrient-deficient soil in the driest months of the summer and fall.
Fairy ring identification can be quite tricky as it can establish itself in a lawn in several ways. It is important to be able to identify fairy ring in your lawn to ensure that it is handled properly. Here are the typical warning signs:
- Dark green circles or semi-circles of grass that grow faster than the surrounding turf
- Dark green rings surrounded by a thin ring of dying grass
- Hardened layer of soil under rings of dying grass
- Mushrooms growing in rings
The dark green appearance of the affected grass is caused by nitrogen released by the fungi.
Fairy ring itself is just an aesthetic issue but it leads to related issues that can cause significant damage to a lawn if it is ignored. These issues include:
- Water repellent soil: Fairy ring results in a large presence of mycelium fungus in the soil which can make it hydrophobic. This will make proper irrigation impossible.
- Enlarged rings: The dark green rings may spread up to 100 feet across large sections of the lawn.
- Fungi chemical damage: The fungi that cause fairy ring release a high concentration of chemicals that weakens the lawn.
Preventing and Controlling Fairy Ring:
There are several steps homeowners can take to prevent fairy ring and other fungal diseases:
- Dethatch your lawn to eliminate breeding grounds for fungus.
- Heavily water affected areas for two weeks.
- Regular fertilization will help strengthen the root system to fight diseases.
- Always practice proper watering and mowing techniques.
- Book a core aeration service with Green T to remove excess thatch and improve irrigation to help water reach the root system.
If the symptoms of fairy ring persist despite taking these preventative actions, call Green T Lawn Care immediately. We offer core aerations and fungicide treatments to our Chicago customers to control fairy ring before it causes significant damage.