How To Keep Red Thread Under Control

Red thread is a fungal infection caused by the fungus, laetisaria fuciformis. This disease will cause irregularly shaped patches of tan or red throughout your lawn. But it really only comes down to doing one thing, to ensure you never have to worry about it. 

The truth is, almost any lawn is susceptible to this turf fungus. However, it is not uncommon for some lawns to have more issues than neighboring properties. This is because of different soil conditions, maintenance, and water patterns.

So, let’s take a look at what causes red thread, the negative effects and point out the best way to control it.

What Does It Look Like?

You can identify red thread by the pinkish-red strands that extend from the leaf blade tip. Take a look at your lawn early in the morning, when it’s still moist. You might see what looks like miniature pink cotton balls. 

If you take a look at your turf early in the morning when it is still moist, you might find what looks like miniature balls of pink cotton candy. That’s a tell-tale sign. 

But it can be mistaken for dollar spot or lawn rust. That’s because the grass is usually tan or light brown beneath the growths. To properly identify the disease, you may need to get on your hands and knees to check it out.

What Causes Red Thread?

Red thread is a disease of turfgrass that is often associated with under-fertilized turf and one of the simplest recommendations to alleviate disease pressure is to fertilize. But it goes deeper than that.

Red thread loves Michigan summers. The days get very warm and the nights are cooler. These temperature changes often create a moist environment that fungi love, and it’s a perfect opportunity for it to invade your lawn. Red thread also favors cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass.

How Harmful Is It To Your Lawn?

The good news is that red thread won’t kill your grass. The disease specifically attacks the leaves and stems of the grass plant. It will not harm the crown or root of the grass, but the areas that are infected will cause your turf to appear wilted.

 It’s also not aesthetically pleasing and can make your lawn vulnerable to diseases.  

How To Protect Your Lawn From Red Thread

The fungus that infects the turf lives in the thatch and soil and can be spread by dead infected plant material and by mowing and other mechanical maintenance. Be sure to clean your lawnmower after cutting your grass to decrease the chances of spreading the disease.

Fungicide applications are usually not necessary in dealing with red thread. The basic treatment for red thread is to fertilize the lawn with the proper amount of nitrogen as part of an ongoing feeding program. 

A fertilizer application will often help your turf outgrow the damage and protect it from other potential diseases. But keep this in mind, some turf diseases are aggravated by excessive fertilization, so be sure to have an expert diagnose which disease your lawn is facing before fertilizing begins.

Don’t hesitate to connect with the Lush Lawn team for treatment options if you come across it on your lawn. Contact your local Lush Lawn branch to request our services.

Giving Back Never Felt So Good. Lush Lawn Is Proud to Support Military Families

 

Green spaces make significant difference in all our lives. They help us breathe cleaner air, they cool surface temperatures, and they help promote physical and mental wellness. That is why Lush Lawn is a proud volunteer with Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops, a nationwide initiative that provides free lawn care and landscape services to families of currently deployed military personnel.

Our yards provide an area for children to play and friends and family to relax and connect, creating a beautiful place that positively contributes to the environment and the relationships in our lives. However, not every military family has the time to stay on top of the upkeep of their lawns and yards.

As a GreenCare for Troops volunteer, Lush Lawn removes that burden of lawn and yard maintenance off military families and provides the gift of green space when they are most in need of a place that can lift spirits and relieve stress.

Giving back to military families that sacrifice so much for our country is a selfless act. The dedication military personnel have for our country is inspiring us to work one yard at a time to make a small difference in their lives.

GreenCare for Troops marks its 15th year in 2021 and has provided an estimated $10 million in donated lawn and landscape services and peace of mind to thousands of military families in need across the country. By volunteering for this initiative, Lush Lawn is joining volunteers across the country to provide this valuable service to families in need of help.

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering or if you know a military family that is eligible to receive services, visit the GreenCare for Troops page on Project EverGreen’s website for more information.

Why Mushrooms In Lawn Are A Good Thing

With all the rain we’ve gotten recently and the warm temperatures we are getting a lot of calls about mushrooms in lawns. If you have them, as unsightly as they may be, you should actually be happy to see them. Mushrooms are a sign that you have healthy soil in your yard. 

mushrooms in lawn

Mushrooms are the reproductive part of fungi. All mushrooms are fungi, but mushrooms are not like mildew or other types of fungi. There are more than 144,000 known species, which include mold, yeasts, and rusts. Some mushrooms are edible and safe to eat, while others pose a great risk of harm if consumed or touched—including ones that can grow in your yard.

But as scary as that sounds, mushrooms are a sign of a healthy lawn. So, let’s take a look at why mushrooms in lawns are such a good thing.

How Mushrooms Form 

Mushrooms usually emerge out of the ground after heavy rain and when growing conditions are ideal—hot and humid. They’re typically produced above ground, on soil, or on its food source, but don’t stick around very long. They’ll spread their spores, and then go away when the sun comes out and the soil dries up. They’ll disappear as fast as they appear.

Why Mushrooms Grow In Lawns

Remember, mushrooms will grow on their food source, so if you spot some in your yard, there’s a good chance that you have some wood, decaying tree roots, tree leaves, or bark in the soil. 

Why? Mushrooms are one of the only types of microbes that can decompose woody material. 

Why Mushrooms In Lawn Are A Good Thing

If you have mushrooms in your lawn, it means that there is beneficial microbial activity occurring in your soil.  

soil microbial activity

Microbial activity is important for a series of soil reactions and functions, including:

  • Organic matter decomposition
  • Humus formation
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Aggregate formation  
  • Stabilization

In other words, they’re critical when it comes to breaking down organic material.

Don’t Eat Mushrooms In Lawn

Now, just because mushrooms are good for your grass, it doesn’t mean that they’re good for you. Of the 2,500 large, fleshy mushroom species in Michigan, only 60-100 of them are generally regarded as safe to eat

mushrooms in lawn

That’s why there’s a saying that goes… “There are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.” Remember, even “edible” mushrooms need to be handled properly to prevent illness.

Ways To Control Mushrooms In Lawn

Because of the health benefits they provide your soil, you never want to completely get rid of mushrooms. They’re an important part of lawn care.

You can try to reduce the number of mushrooms you have on your lawn by introducing more “leafy” material to your soil. An easy way to do this is by mulching your grass clippings. 

You’ll also want to pay attention to how often you’re watering your lawn. Too much much water in the right conditions can cause your lawn to grow mushrooms, even if you don’t want them. Be sure you’re leaving ample time for your lawn to dry between waterings. 

Another thing you can do is to make sure your lawn has the right amount of fertilizer.  At Lush Lawn, we offer treatment programs for soil health to keep your lawn looking its best all summer long.

How to Choose the Best Summer Fertilizer for Grass

Choosing the best summer fertilizer for grass isn’t easy. But an important part of any lawn care program is fertilizer.

Many times you hear lawn care referred to as “weed and feed”, as we are working to remove the weeds and feed the grass. That fertilizer component is vital to keeping your turf tip-top, no matter the grass type. But is it the best summer fertilizer for grass?

Continue reading “How to Choose the Best Summer Fertilizer for Grass”

How Often Should Lawn Watering Take Place?

In the midst of the harsh summer heat, it’s natural for you to want to water your lawns more than you typically do. Maybe even every day, in some cases. Lawn watering is a critical part of lawn care, but it’s easier to overwater (and under-water) your lawn than you think.  

So, how often should lawns be watered in summer? Let’s find out. 

Continue reading “How Often Should Lawn Watering Take Place?”

Evaluating Lawn Care Companies In Southeast Michigan

Lawn care companies in southeast Michigan are not difficult to find, which can make it challenging to choose the right one. As a homeowner, lawn care is one of your more time-consuming responsibilities. Your landscape is one of the more important aspects of your property’s curb appeal. And all lawn care companies in Southeastern Michigan are not the same.

If you don’t have the time or the equipment, you may want to leave it to the professionals. How do you choose a lawn care company? Here are some tips:

Continue reading “Evaluating Lawn Care Companies In Southeast Michigan”

What To Do When Preparing Your Lawn For Summer

Preparing your lawn for summer sounds like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By taking the time to complete three simple steps, you will be on your way to a luscious lawn in no time.

Continue reading “What To Do When Preparing Your Lawn For Summer”

Are Soil Microorganisms Important for Plant Health?

When biologically active microorganisms are present in your soil, they help break down organic matter and replenish your soil with nutrients to improve its quality and structure. This helps plants and grass grow stronger and taller, while warding off the potential for disease and pest infestations.

Waste of aeration technique used in the upkeep of lawns and turf. Lawn maintenance. Illustration for article, infographics or instruction. Stock vector

Soil microorganisms can be grouped into bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, algae, protozoa and nematodes. Apart from the dead plant or animal residues in soils, soil organic matter is composed of a significant amount of living microorganisms and their dead fractions.

But your plants and grass can’t thrive on microbial activity alone. So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons soil microorganisms are important for plant health and fertilization’s role in making this happen. 

The Importance of Soil Microorganisms

Soil microorganisms play an essential role in decomposing organic matter, cycling nutrients and fertilizing your soil. They also help make up and produce soil organic carbon, which locks carbon into the soil for long periods of time and improves your soil’s fertility and water-retaining capacity.

grass with roots and soil

Soil microbes are also important for the development of healthy soil structure. They cement soil aggregates, which keep your soil from crumbling when exposed to water. And fungal filaments are like threads that surround the aggregates like a hairnet — holding it together.

Soil microorganisms, and fungi, in particular, can also be harnessed to draw carbon out of the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil. Bacteria and fungi are decomposers, so soil microorganisms may provide a way to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gasses and help to limit the impact of greenhouse gas-induced climate change.

How To Keep Your Soil Microorganisms Healthy

Beneficial soil microbes are living organisms. And like most living organisms, they need a few things to live, including:   

Without all of these critical elements in your soil, your plants and grass would not be able to survive and grow.

But there are ways to ensure you soil microorganisms are getting all of the nutrients they need, and you don’t need to know a lot about soil science, just the basics. They include:

  • Aeration: Core aeration opens your soil, allowing more air and water to reach the roots. This is especially important if your soil is compacted. Soil aeration can enhance the activities of the three rhizosphere soil enzymes. Plant rhizosphere is the soil nearest to the plant root system where roots release large quantities of metabolites from living root hairs or fibrous root systems. This aids plant growth.
  • Balance pH Level: Most beneficial bacteria thrive best in neutral to near-neutral pH (6.5 – 8), but some thrive in very acid conditions and some can even tolerate a pH as low as 1.0.
  • Watering Deeply: Soil health and watering go hand in hand. Deeply watering (at least an inch and a half) gets moisture deeper into your soil and keeps the microbial communities happy. Soil with higher moisture content also tends to have a higher CO2 release. 
  • Soil Temperature: The hottest part of the summer is the busiest time for microbes. Soil microbes thrive most in 70- to 90-degree temperatures. Soil temperature alters the rate of organic matter decomposition and mineralization of different organic materials. It also affects soil water content, its conductivity and availability to plants.   
  • Available Carbon: The majority of available carbon consumed by soil microbes comes from shed roots, decomposing organisms, clippings, and fallen leaves. Soil organic carbon tends to be concentrated in the topsoil. Topsoil ranges from 0.5% to 3.0% organic carbon for most upland soils. Soils with less than 0.5% organic C are mostly limited to desert areas. Soils containing greater than 12%-18% organic carbon are generally classified as organic soils. Adding compost to your garden can help since carbon is the primary energy source for microorganisms, they need lots of organic matter to thrive. The same goes for mulching.
  • Mycorrhizal Fungi: Up to this point, we’ve been talking a lot about soil bacteria. You’ll need an ample level in your solid because this fungus attaches directly to the roots and funnels nutrients to them. It is often lacking, especially on newer lawn where the soil is not good. You can actually buy mycorrhizal fungi and apply them to your soil. It comes in gel form as a bare root dip, made into a liquid for soil injection. It can also be applied as a soil drench.

Didn’t know there was so much going on in your soil, did you? The fact is, all of these elements are working together. To keep grass and plant diseases at bay, they all should be functioning at optimum levels. 

Fertilization’s Role

Fertilization is an important part of what attracts beneficial microbes in the first place. When you think about fertilizer applications, you probably connect those nutrients to improved plant growth. But these nutrients are available to all organisms in the soil system, including the microbes. 

fertilizer for grass
feeding lawn with granular fertilizer for perfect green grass

One study found that manure increased soil organic carbon for all the measured soil depths compared to inorganic fertilizer and control treatments. Remember, more carbon means better soil structure. The study also found manure significantly increased total nitrogen compared to fertilizer treatments.

Lush Lawn Can Help

It’s important to apply the right amount of fertilizer to your lawn or plants. Overusing chemical fertilizers can actually decrease organic matter in the soil. 

At Lush Lawn, we are proud to help Southeast Michigan homeowners keep their lawns thriving. 

Our services include: 

  • Lawn health evaluation and diagnosis
  • Treatment programs for soil health
  • Aeration to break up compacted soil

It’s a three-step process for optimum soil health. 

Lawn Health Evaluation

One health issue with your lawn can snowball into myriad problems. Our experts will diagnose your lawn to ensure your soil is providing all of the nutrients it needs.

Soil Health Treatments

Our soil health treatment programs include:

  • Soil Sweetener Program that’s designed to balance the pH level of your soil.
  • Soil Fertility Program that increases specific nutrient levels in your soil. 
  • Soil Balancer Program can help to bring soil pH levels down (if needed).

Once your soil is tested we’ll be able to determine which of our soil treatment programs is best suited to the lawn care needs of your property.

Core Aeration Services

We use our state-of-the-art equipment to ensure optimal results. Our core aeration services will give your lawn the room it needs to absorb nutrients and eliminate areas of standing water that can lead to lawn diseases and attract mosquitos. 

lawn aeration

We recommend at least one core aeration service in the spring or fall, and even better if you’re able to aerate twice per season.

Want to make sure your lawn is ready for summer? Request a free quote today.

Follow These Lawn Mowing Tips to See the Best Results

There’s nothing like a freshly mowed lawn… the fresh smell, the crisp green. But when done wrong, the results are less than aesthetically pleasing. Put your mower blades too low and the sun could scorch your lawn. Mow in the wrong weather condition and you could put your lawn at risk of disease.

When it comes to lawn care, there are a handful of best practices to follow for better results. In this blog post, we share four lawn mowing tips that will make your healthy lawn the envy of the neighborhood.

4 Lawn Mowing Tips for a Better Lawn

In addition to making sure your mower blades are sharp and your mower is in tip-top shape, here are four tips for growing and maintaining the best lawn.

Adjust Your Mower Height Properly

Set your mower blades to a height of about 3 inches and only cut one-third off the top each time you mow. This may result in cutting the grass more often, but longer grass blades can support more roots and help develop a deeper root system, making it easier for those roots to locate water and nutrients in the soil. What’s more, is longer grass blades will make it harder for weeds to establish themselves in your lawn and give your lawn the appearance of a thick, green carpet.

Cutting the grass too short, what’s referred to as scalping, forces grass to focus its energy on regrowing blades rather than deepening their roots. This also makes it easier for weeds to push their way through.

Stick with Versatility in Your Mowing Pattern

Have you ever noticed the different patterns in the grass of baseball fields? This variation in mowing patterns is prompted by an effort to boost the turf’s health, and because it looks good.

When you constantly mow in the same directions, your grass will start to lean in that chosen direction. Freshening up the pattern will allow your grass to stand tall and straight. Also, mowing in the same pattern will eventually leave ruts in your lawn.

Account for Weather Conditions

The best time of day to mow your grass is in the early evening because that’s when it tends to be the driest (if it hasn’t rained that day). It’s also when the hottest part of the day has passed and it gives the grass time to recover before the next day’s heat.

Avoid mowing the grass when it is wet as this can result in an uneven trim and clog your lawn mower. When wet clumps of grass clippings sit on your lawn, they smother the grass below, causing brown spots to form.

Utilize Leftover Mower Clippings

Resist the urge to rake or collect grass clippings as you mow. They act as a natural compost and break down quickly, adding nutrients back into your lawn. This only works if your clippings are small and they aren’t in huge clumps. If you’d rather bag your clippings, use them as mulch in your garden or compost them — but only if your grass hasn’t been treated with weed killer.

The experts at Lush Lawn know all the tricks to keeping a lawn healthy and green. Ready to work with your next lawn dream team? Request your free quote.

Spring Lawn Care Diseases: What to Look Out for Early On

Spring is almost here and with it comes lawn diseases that can creep up at the start of the season.

You likely put a lot of time and effort into ensuring your lawn is well cared for, and as a result, finished last season with a lawn full of lush green grass. But, no matter how well you cared for your lawn last season, there is always a risk that spring lawn diseases can spread and damage your lawn as soon as the weather warms.

As the snow begins to melt, keep your eye out for these common spring lawn diseases in Michigan.

Common Spring Lawn Disease: Snow Mold

Snow mold is a fungal infection that grows in extremely low temperatures, which Michigan’s winters are known for. The fungal infection usually presents in two ways: gray and pink snow mold.

Gray mold attacks the blades of grass and doesn’t cause much damage to the roots. Pink mold is more severe and attacks the entire plant, which makes it more difficult to reverse the damage. Both types of molds can also remain dormant and resist the summer’s high temperatures.

grey snow mold
Gray snow mold. Source: Getty Images.

These fungal infections leave circular patches that look like straw on your lawn. Both look the same, but gray snow mold causes hard growths to develop on the crowns and leaves of the grass.

For minor snow mold issues, you might be able to alleviate the problem by raking your grass. More severe issues may need a fungicide treatment applied.

Common Spring Lawn Disease: Red Thread Disease

Red thread disease is a fungus that thrives on grass that has a lack of nutrients. You’ll recognize this infection by the red or pink fibers that are around the stems and leaves of the plant. As the infection progresses, the red fibers grow into circular clumps ranging from 4 to 8 inches in diameter.

red thread disease
Red thread disease. Source: Kris Lord, Flickr, CC By 2.0.

You can treat a minor red thread disease infection by aerating your lawn and applying fertilizer. More severe infections may require a fungicide treatment.

Common Spring Lawn Disease: Leaf Spot Disease

Michigan’s cool, moist climate makes it a perfect environment for fungal lawn diseases, and chief among these issues is leaf spot disease. This fungal infection causes leaf damage and then makes the roots rot. If it’s not controlled quickly, it can destroy a wide range of grasses.

During the first stages of the disease, you might notice tan or brown lesions on the leaves of your grass. As the infection progresses, the lesions may turn black or dark brown.

leaf spot disease
Leaf spot disease. Source: Getty Images.

If you don’t address the lesions, your lawn will experience root rot, which makes your turf die in large patches.

Fertilization and aeration can help prevent leaf spot disease as can strategic watering. However, if your lawn is experiencing leaf spot disease, it will need a fungicide application.

Want to make sure your lawn is ready for spring? Request a free quote today.