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It's Lawn Mushroom Season

Grass Clippings - Lawn MushroomsYou may have lately noticed lots of mushrooms on your lawn and in your local woodland and parkland.  Sign of a healthy soil.  It is that time of year when soil conditions are ideal for theses fruiting bodies to appear in abundance.

Does your lawn have circles in it?  Sometimes, these may be a dark green circle or grass or sometimes with a dead bit of grass in the middle or simply a ring of mushrooms only.  They are all called Fairy Rings.

The fungi responsible for fairy rings in lawns is Marasmius oreadesMarasmius oreades grows extensively throughout North America and Europe in the summer and fall, or year-round in warmer climates. It loves grassy areas such as lawns, meadows, and even dunes in coastal areas.
The fungi white Hyphae strands called Mycelium feed on the organic matter in the soil.  Once they have depleted the food source in the close viscinity, they work outwards in an area to find more food.  The Fairy Ring would have started life as a small circular patch.  The advice from most garden experts is to leave them alone and let them grow out of the lawn into the borders and head next door.  Sometimes they appear where they may have been an old tree or stump, where the symbiotic relationship would hev been formed between the bacteria and fungi.

Type One Fairy Rings - The fungal infection shows as two rings of lush, bright green grass with a ring of bare ground between them.  The ring of dead or dying grass results from the production of a toxin by the fungal mycelium in the root zone of the turf.  The effect of this toxin is made worse by water stress caused by the presence of waxy mycelium just below the soil in the dead area.  This presents an impervious barrier that prevents the grass above getting water.  This waxy mycelium gives off a pungent, musty smell, similar to that of dry rot.

The soil under the ring is very dry and difficult to wet.  It would appear that the grass dies as much from drought as any parasitic attack.  The fungus lives off organic matter in the soil and releases nitrogen, which initially stimulates the grass into lush growth.  In the autumn, toadstools can be seen in the dead grass area of the ring and are reddish tan to buff in colour, depending on soil and other environmental conditions.

Type Two Fairy Rings - These produce a ring of stimulated grass growth in which toadstools can be found at certain times of the yearAlthough they are not as damaging as the type 1 fairy rings, because they don’t kill the grass, they still cause disfiguring scars on areas of close mown fine turf.  The dark bands, or ribbons as they are sometimes called, are more evident in long dry summers when the surrounding grass tends to lack colour.  Sometimes fruiting bodies (toadstools, mushrooms and puff-balls) are associated with the rings.

Type Three Fairy Rings - These produce only a circle of toadstools or puffballs without creating either a stimulated or dead sward area.  Type 3 rings are easier to live with as the symptoms can be temporarily removed by mowing.

Type Four Fairy Rings - Also called Superficial Fairy Ring or Thatch Fungus - The disease is first seen as small dark green patches about the size of a tennis ball.  These increase to about the size of a diner plate – 25-30cm.  At the height of the active expanding stage, a creamy coloured mycelium can be seen.  Various patterns are formed, including circular patches, complete rings, parts of rings and irregular narrow lines.  The fungus eats away at organic matter in the thatch layer and releases nitrogen, which gives rise to the dark coloration.  This also results in depressions in the surface of the turf, making it unsuitable for some uses. 

How to get rid of a Fairy Ring

Read this Fairy Ring Technical Leaflet

Aerate the whole area with hollow tines or by hand, the affected circles and the surrounds

Ensure you clear up all the hollow tine cores

Apply a wetting agent surfactant to bascally change the environment that the Fairy Ring likes growing in.

Once the area is wet, which is very evident, apply a control product 

Digging them out is a waste of time :-(


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