"Everything You Need to Know to Diagnose Fairy Rings and Control It” 

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.

From Fairy Rings to Lawn Diseases Page

“How Can you Diagnose Fairy Rings – It’s Signs and Symptoms?”

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.

These mushrooms are poisonous and should not be eaten. Wash your hands well and wash your clothes if they come in contact with the lawn mushrooms.

A few additional signs to take note of...............

  • It may disappear for a period of time, then reappear later the same season or even the next.
  • The size of the rings can vary (6 inches to 2 feet wide and 2 feet to 200 feet in diameter).
  • With each reappearance the ring gets larger.
  • Your lawn can have multiple rings.  The rings will not intersect.

“Fairy Rings – What Causes It?”

It is most prone to develop in the following areas:

  • Where stumps or logs are buried in your yard.
  • Areas of your lawn that have stray pieces of wood, tree branches and bark on it.

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 - 

  • Drought Stress
  • Inadequate Irrigation
  • Infrequent Aeration

Type 2 -

  • Deficient of nutrients such as iron and nitrogen.>

Type 3 -

  • Poorly drained
  • Over irrigated

“How to >Wipe Out Fairy Rings”

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.

From Fairy Rings Page to Lawn Care Made Easy Home Page

Do you want your lawn to look like a Wally Lawn? Subscribe to Wally Lawns and you will receive information about new pages on the web-site, tips and tricks as well as information on new techniques and trends in lawn care delivered right to your INBOX on a monthly basis. 

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Wally Lawns.

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.

Arkansas Elite Turf

Type 3 - Fairy Rings

Lawn mushrooms in a circle around the perimeter of the fairy ring.