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Fairy Ring Disease

How to Deal With Fairy Ring Disease in South Florida

Dealing with fairy ring disease in South Florida? This tricky fungus, known scientifically as Marasmius oreades, forms dark green rings on your lawn, more annoying than enchanting!

It makes soil repel water, harming your turf. But don't worry, keeping these mythical-sounding nuisances in check is possible.

Want to conquer these fairy rings? Keep reading to discover effective strategies for a pristine lawn!

Key Takeaways

  • Enhancing soil drainage and root growth through aeration and proper watering techniques may create unfavorable conditions for fairy ring disease.
  • Targeted fungicides and soil drenches that reach the pathogen's root zone may effectively combat fairy ring disease.
  • Employing biological fungicides like Bacillus subtilis can naturally suppress fairy ring fungi through competitive exclusion.
  • Continuously monitoring and adjusting your lawn care strategies are practical responses to environmental changes and the effects of applied treatments.
  • Contacting a lawn care professional is essential if persistent symptoms of fairy ring disease remain after implementing standard treatments.

Option 1: Cultural Control

Employing cultural practices focuses on modifying care practices to create environmental conditions that are less favorable for the disease and more favorable for healthy lawn growth.

Here’s how you can implement cultural control methods.


Aeration is essential for enhancing soil drainage and promoting robust root growth, thereby helping to manage fairy ring disease. Here are steps to properly aerate a lawn:

  1. Inspect the lawn for thatch: If thatch is thicker than half an inch, proceed with aeration.

  2. Choose the right time: Aerate during the growing season when the grass can heal and fill any open areas after removing soil plugs.

  3. Use the proper tools: Spike or plug aerators will work, but plug aerators are more effective at relieving soil compaction.

  4. Follow a pattern: Pass over the most affected areas multiple times to ensure adequate soil disruption.

  5. Allow soil plugs to dry: After aeration, leave the soil plugs on the lawn to break down naturally, adding nutrients back to the soil.

Water Management

Adequate irrigation practices discourage the development of water-repellent soil conditions. So, water management is crucial in preventing the conditions in which fairy ring disease thrives.

Here’s a closer look at watering do's and don'ts for South Florida homeowners like you:



Water should be used early in the morning to reduce evaporation.

Overwater, as it can encourage fungal growth.

After mowing, apply water at a rate the soil can absorb.

Applying water unevenly can lead to disease hotspots.

Use a smart irrigation system for efficiency.

Ignore signs of water-repellent soil or poor drainage.

Organic Matter Management

Managing organic matter effectively is essential to fairy ring control since decomposing organic matter fuels the fungus. Here's how to manage it:

  • Regularly remove lawn clippings.
  • Incorporate compost correctly.
  • Monitor thatch levels.

Option 2: Chemical Treatments

Chemical treatments can offer a robust line of defense for green turfs in places like golf course fairways threatened by fairy ring disease.


Fungicides directly combat the fungal agents that cause diseases like dollar spots and brown patches. They serve as chemical control agents that can be curative or preventive.

Here are some types of common fungicides against turfgrass diseases like fairy ring disease:

Fungicide Type

Effectiveness against Fairy Ring


High for surface pathogens


High for root and soil pathogens


Broad spectrum control

Soil Drenches

Soil drenches are applied directly to the soil to reach the fairy ring pathogen's root zone. They often contain a wetting agent that helps evenly distribute the chemical through the soil profile.

To target the pathogenic basidiomycete fungi responsible for the condition, follow these steps:

  1. Mix the pesticide (following the label directions) with water to create a drench solution.

  2. Apply the solution to the affected area, ensuring coverage is thorough.

  3. Allow the solution to penetrate the soil, reaching the necrotic root zones.

  4. Repeat the process as directed on the pesticide label to ensure the pathogen is adequately suppressed.

Option 3: Monitoring and Adjusting Treatment

In battling fairy ring disease in South Florida, it's imperative to monitor the effects of applied treatments rigorously.

Here’s how you can tweak protocols in response to environmental feedback or the time of year.

Adjustment Strategies

Adapting treatment protocols for lawn diseases such as fairy rings is critical, particularly in the demanding climate of South Florida.

So, you should consider the following for adjustment:

  • Sporadic dead grass or vibrant green rings: Indicates active fungal presence.
  • Changes in grass varieties: Transition from bermudagrass to zoysiagrass or St. Augustine may influence treatment response.
  • Seasonal variations: Adjust fungicide applications since peak growth and dormancy periods differ.
  • Environmental shifts: Heavy rains or drought can affect mycelium growth and spore dissemination.
  • Visual evidence: The increased appearance of puffballs or mycelium signals a need to evaluate the current strategy.
  • Root rot signs: Soft, decayed root tissue is a telltale sign for immediate protocol alteration.

Is the Treatment Working?

Identifying the success of treatment methods against fairy rings is foundational to effective pest control.

Here’s a list of evaluation parameters to guide you.



Grass Recovery

The rate at which affected grass returns to a healthy state

Fungal Activity

Reduction in visible signs of spore and mycelium

Visual Cues

Improvement in overall lawn appearance, absence of rings and dead grass patches

Root Health

Examination of root systems for signs of rot or decay

Environmental Impact

Minimizing negative repercussions to surrounding flora and fauna

When Should You Reach Out to a Professional?

If you spot rings of mushrooms forming on your South Florida lawn, you've probably met the fairy ring. Managing fairy ring disease might seem straightforward initially.

Still, if you've tried watering, aerating, and applying fungicide, and the ring persists, it's time to bring in lawn care experts (like us, here at Native Pest Management).

Remember that we are ready to help and just a phone call away. A little help from us can ensure that your lawn stays as magical as a fairy ring—minus the trouble!