Fairy Ring is a name which is applied to a condition which occurs in lawns which results in the formation of circular shaped patterns of either visible mushrooms or bright green rings. Many different species of fungus can create fairy rings in the home lawn, some species will produce mushrooms while others will not. All turf grasses can be affected by Fairy Ring.
Fairy Rings are easily identified when mushrooms are present and they form a ring in the lawn which can start as a few inches in diameter, and then often continue growing until it eventually reaches the edges of the lawn after thoroughly consuming it. The mushrooms will go through stages of appearing and disappearing throughout the year, and the fungus will over-winter itself and re-emerge the following Spring.
In the non mushroom forming fairy ring, the most obvious sign of an infestation is the bright green ring which is visible in place of the mushrooms. The bright green ring in the lawn is a result of the massive amounts of nutrients that the fungus is producing while it is consuming a lawn,
Treating Fairy Ring will require several different treatments combined to form an overall plan of attack.
- Begin watering correctly, this involves watering deeply and less often, and watering only in the morning.
- The lawn should also be aerated once a year to encourage good drainage conditions.
- Begin a year round fertilizing regime using high quality fertilizers.
- Some fungicides, specifically those aimed at mushrooms will also aid in attacking the fungus.
If the Fairy Ring is still only in it's beginning stages, then the mushrooms can be dug out to a depth of 10 inches into the soil, and to a 10 inch diameter around the mushrooms. When using this method it is important not to drop any of the infected soil elsewhere onto the lawn as this can easily create a new infestation. Always bag the infected soil and place into the rubbish bin. Once the infected soil has been removed from the lawn, the soil can be replaced with clean soil and re-sodded or left to spread and grow over if the lawn has runners.
Preventing Fairy Ring from occurring in lawns requires a good lawn management regime which includes good lawn watering practice, regular fertilizing, regular lawn mowing, good direct sunlight to the turf, de-thatching when required and yearly aeration.