Fairy ring type can be confused if observed on only one or a few occasions, because all symptoms may not occur simultaneously. Type 1 rings exhibit a zone of dead grass, one or two zones of darker green stimulated grass and basidiocarps. Type 2 rings exhibit a single ring of darker green stimulated grass and basidiocarps. Type 3 rings appear as circular arrangements of basidiocarps, and they have no visible effect on grass growth. In all cases, basidiocarps are produced only briefly when environmental conditions in soil stimulate their production.
Controlling fairy ring is difficult and in most cases they are just left alone (especially for Type 2 and 3). Nitrogen is one option for trying to cover up the symptoms. However, in cases where turf loss is occurring, fungicide treatments may be tried. Generally speaking controlling fairy ring with fungicides may vary from excellent to marginal depending on the type of basiodiomycete (fungus). For example, Monica Elliot at the University of Florida had good success controlling the puffball fungus with flutolanil (Prostar®). Other fungicides that have shown efficacy on fairy ring include pyraclostrobin (Insignia®), and Azoxystrobin (Heritage®). The use of a wetting agent may also limit the severity of fairy ring injury in the case where the circles become droughty. A Canadian study found that the organosilicone surfactants appear to work the best. One possible procedure for controlling fairy ring would consist of coring or punching holes into the fairy rings, apply a wetting agent and fungicide and drench to the root zone.
Photograph 1: Type 1 fairy ring
Photograph 2 and 3: Type 2 fairy ring
Photograph 4: Type 2 fairy ring with basidiocarps
Authors: Karl Danneberger
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