Fairy Rings are caused by lawn fungus. There are at least 50 different fungi that will cause it.
Any grass type can be affected by it. The signs are most visible during hot, dry weather spells.
It develops when mycelium (the vegetative part of the fungus) forms a shield, usually at or below the thatch layer of grass. It begins in a central point and grows outwards from several inches to a few feet per year. This shield prevents water and nutrients from reaching the grass roots.
This causes an enormous amount of stress on the affected areas of the lawn.
There are 3 types:
Type 1 - Dead grass inside a ring of dark green grass. Usually happens during periods of hot, dry weather.
Type 2 - Circles or arcs of dark grass with or without lawn mushrooms on the outer perimeter of the ring. The bands of darker green grass grow at a faster rate than the surrounding grass. Happens during periods of hot, dry weather.
Type 3 - This is the most common type of fairy ring during periods of wet weather. There are not any dark green rings or dead grass. There is a ring of mushrooms in lawn.
A few additional signs to take note of...............
It is most prone to develop in the following areas:
The wood begins to rot and the rotting wood causes a fungus to develop. Furthermore, the grass produces thatch and organic matter which feed the rings. The outer portion of the circle absorbs all of the water and nutrients making it look lush and green. Meanwhile, the inner circle is deprived of both water and nutrients.
The fungus mixes with the following conditions to form it:
Type 1 -
Type 2 -
Type 3 -
It is nearly impossible to eradicate it, but you certainly can control it.
Your best defense is a well maintained lawn that is fed and watered properly.
Since the fungus lives under the ring, aerating your lawn is very helpful. This will allow the water and nutrients to break through the fungus layer and reach the grass roots.
Water the lawn properly and feed it. Be sure to apply fertilizer outside of the ring, not inside it. This will hide the lawn problem, but not solve it.
You can try applying a wetting agent (either liquid or granular form) to the affected area. The wetting agent will act as a detergent. It helps with the soil's compaction (allows for greater flow of water through the soil) so that the water can reach the grass roots. Again, this will not solve the lawn problem but it may lessen the symptoms. Wetting agents can be purchased on-line or at your local garden center. Prices vary.
Fungicides should be used as a preventive measure if your grass is prone to fairy rings. The fungicide will eliminate the symptoms but it will not kill the lawn disease already exists.
You can dig up and replace the soil and grass in the affected area. However, the fairy ring will only disappear when it’s food source is gone.
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Type 1 - Fairy Rings
Dark Green Circles with dead grass in the middle of the rings.
Type 2 - Fairy Rings
Dark Green Circles surrounding lighter green grass.
Type 3 - Fairy Rings
Lawn mushrooms in a circle around the perimeter of the fairy ring.