Fairy Ring Control Guaranteed

Fairy ring in golf green

By Lane Tredway, Ph.D., technical services manager, Syngenta.

Fairy ring is different from other turf diseases in many ways, but the most important difference is how it causes symptoms. Most fairy ring fungi don’t infect plants or directly harm them. Instead, they cause turf symptoms indirectly by changing the chemical or physical properties of the soil, which in turn causes a change in the growth or health of the turf.

Type II fairy ring symptoms – rings of darker green turf – are caused by the release of nitrogen or other nutrients into the soil profile. Type I fairy ring symptoms – rings of dead or declining turf – are usually the result of water-repellent compounds left behind as the fungus grows through the soil.

Preventative approaches

The best way to control fairy ring is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Preventive fungicide applications, beginning in the spring when soil temperatures reach 55-60° F and repeated on a 28-day interval, provide very effective control.

Since spring is also a key time to prevent root diseases like summer patch, take-all patch, take-all root rot or mini ring, selecting the right product rotation can deliver a more comprehensive solution.

Curative Control

Curative fairy ring control requires a three-step approach to (1) halt pathogen activity, (2) bring the soil properties back to normal and (3) prevent recurrence of the disease.

Cultural practices, including aerification, spiking, heavy irrigation, fertilization and/or additional soil surfactant applications, are needed to remediate the soil and encourage turf recovery. Depending on growing conditions and the severity of symptoms, full recovery often takes several weeks, even though the pathogen has been suppressed.

Continue with preventive fungicide applications on a 28-day interval when soil temperatures are above 60° F. For best results on fairy ring, fungicides should be watered-in immediately after application with 1/8 to ¼ in. of irrigation depending on the depth of the infestation. Preventive applications can be either tank-mixed with a soil surfactant or applied in conjunction with a regular soil surfactant program.

Watch this video (tap the image below) to find out more about fairy ring and how you can prevent them on your golf course, a must watch for South African turf managers.

Fairy Ring - Treatment in South Africa

All photos and videos are either the property of Syngenta or are used with permission.

Performance assessments are based upon results or analysis of public information, field observations and/or internal Syngenta evaluations. Trials reflect treatment rates commonly recommended in the marketplace.