Fairy Ring is a fungal disease which affects all types of lawns, including Saint Augustine grass. Fairy Ring is most noticeable and distinguished as creating large round patches in a lawn, with the perimeter of these patches either being a very bright green color or creating an outer ring of mushrooms, while the inside of these circles will often contain turf which is damaged and off color.
Lawn Fairy Rings will first appear noticeable in Saint Augustine grass when they begin reaching around a few feet in diameter, and after this time the ring will continue to get larger and larger to eventually take over the entire lawn, which in reality - really may not be such a bad thing, as we will soon see.
Fairy Rings will be most noticeable in Spring and in Autumn.
Treating Fairy Ring In Saint Augustine Grass
There really is no knockout treatment for Fairy Ring in lawns. Instead we want to implement a good quality year round lawn care regimen. In doing this, we want to create a lawn environment which is as friendly as possible to the Saint Augustine turf, and as hostile to the Fairy Rings and all other lawn diseases as possible. This allows the lawn itself to battle the disease on its own, as we also weaken any small outbreak of the disease itself.
Fungicide treatments, and especially those made for control of mushrooms in lawns can be used in conjunction with lawn care practices, but they are often not the sole cure on their own: as we still need to address the original problem of having a lawn that was inviting to lawn disease in the first place, otherwise our lawn problems may only continue to repeat in the future. Fungicides are an added help in control of lawn Fairy Ring.
Our main purpose is to keep our lawn as healthy as possible, and allow it to fight the Fairy Ring on its own, with the least ugly appearance of the Fairy Rings as possible.
Eventually the Fairy Ring will outgrow the entire lawn and diminish itself over many years, and if we look after our lawns properly in the meantime, then the entire disease can become almost unnoticeable.
Lawn Care To Control Fairy Ring
Controlling Fairy Rings in Saint Augustine grass is the same as with all lawn diseases.
A good year round lawn fertilization program should be implemented as soon as possible. Using a high quality fertilizer with trace elements and being sure not to over fertilize, nor under fertilize, though it is always best practice to err on the side of caution and to use less rather than more.
Lawn watering should be done in the mornings and not at night. Aim to create a watering plan which will water the lawn very deeply and less often. Our purpose here is to reduce the amount of water which is left inside the thatch layer of the Saint Augustine grass as much as possible, and to not leave water sitting on the lawn overnight, as these are the peak growing conditions for Fairy Rings and all other lawn diseases.
Saint Augustine Lawn De-thatching
Saint Augustine grass is a real bear to vertimow and many contractors will not do the work. However, if done regularly then de-thatching Saint Augustine is less risky. The aim of de-thatching is to reduce the thatch layer of the lawn where the disease is most prevalent and most easily grown. There are alternative methods to de-thatch a Saint Augustine lawn, and these should also be considered.
Saint Augustine Lawn Aeration
Lawn coring will aerate the soil and help reduce the thatch layer at the same time. A lawn soil which is heavily aerated with oxygen will encourage healthy Saint Augustine lawn growth as well as becoming hostile to Fairy Ring and other Saint Augustine lawn diseases.
Removing Mushrooms In Lawns
The mushrooms which often appear growing around the perimeters of Fairy Rings can contain different types of mushrooms, as there is not one single cause of fungus for this disease. In this respect we must understand that many types of mushrooms can possibly be poisonous and as such, should be removed and never eaten.
Grab a plastic garbage bag and a spade and dig out the mushrooms and the surrounding soil at least 6 to 12 inches around the mushroom itself and to the same depth. Mushrooms contain many Mycelium threads which will be growing invisibly inside the soil and the turf, so we're trying to remove as much of this Mycelium as possible so to reduce the risk of another outbreak.
Once the mushrooms are dug out of the lawn, seal the bag on the lawn and carefully take the entire bag to the rubbish bin, being very careful not to spill any soil onto any other areas of turf, as this could easily infect other areas of the turf with the same disease.
Fill in the holes with clean soil, and add a little fertilizer around the general area to encourage new lawn growth from surrounding lawn to repair these patches.