How to Treat Fairy Rings in your Arizona Lawn

Fairy rings are raised green spots in Arizona sod lawns that take the shape of a circle. Growing steadily every year, some fairy rings can reach diameters of three or more meters. In mythical folklore, fairy rings were the result of fairies coming out of the woods at night and dancing in circles in the grass. While a cute story, it sure doesn’t explain much. Luckily, science has come up with explanations for why these strange rings occur.

It seems that certain species of underground fungus account for the fairy rings. As the fungus grows underground, it consumes various types of organic matter. However, it leaves behind protein and a plant hormone known as gibberellins which lead to fast and lush growth. Because these areas are essentially better fertilized, you get a bright green ring with surrounding sod grass that isn’t quite as bright. Part of the problem with the fungus growth is that it leaves behind mycelium (the ‘root structure’ of the fungus) covering the grass roots that is somewhat hydrophobic. This can make it so the soil has a tough time absorbing water and can leave the grass withered in the center. Some fungus also burns through a significant amount of Nitrogen which is an essential nutrient for the Arizona sod grass. Without enough nitrogen, the surrounding grass ends up withered as well.

Solving this vexing problem in your sod is probably easier than it seems. There are many home remedies that you should, however, avoid. These include throwing boiling water or vinegar on the ring. If anything, these solutions will make things worse.

If the Arizona turf grass is healthy and growing (not stressed from the seasons), one of the best things you can do is just throw some nitrogen fertilizer on it. This will mask the green ring by making the surrounding grass just as green. You can also take a close tine pitch fork and poke holes around the ring to allow it to accept water. You can then use a wetting agent to get the ground to soak up the water, or you can make your own by mixing one tablespoon of liquid detergent with every five gallons of water.

If none of these solutions bring back your sod lawn, you might want to engage the services of someone who can apply a fungicide like Prostar (flutolanil).

Evergreen Turf is an Arizona sod company that has become the major sod provider not just for homeowners and landscapers, but for Arizona’s demanding golf courses and sports facilities.

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