Effective techniques to eliminate problematic fairy rings from your garden

Effective techniques to eliminate problematic fairy rings from your garden

Fairy rings are a common issue that many gardeners face when it comes to maintaining their lawns. These circular formations of mushrooms on the outer edge of the ring can become quite an eyesore, blending in with the green turfgrass. But what exactly are fairy rings and what can you do to get rid of them?

Fairy rings are caused by a type of fungus that grows within the thatch layer of your lawn. These fungi release spores that spread outwards, creating a ring-like pattern as they grow. The mushrooms themselves are the visible part of the fungal organism, and they often signal the presence of larger fungal networks within the soil.

To banish fairy rings, a cooperative approach between you and your lawn is necessary. The hardened thatch layer must be removed to allow water and nutrients to penetrate the soil properly. Applying a product specifically formulated to control fairy rings can help in this process, but be sure to thoroughly read and follow the instructions.

Once the thatch layer is under control, decisions must be made about the type of turfgrass to grow in your lawn. Some turfgrass species are more resistant to fairy rings than others, so do some research to find the best fit for your zone and soil conditions. Remember, blending the right turfgrass type with proper cultural practices, such as watering and mowing, helps to prevent fairy rings from forming in the first place.

Fairy rings can be difficult to control, as they are known to reappear even after treatment. However, by removing the thatch layer and applying the appropriate remedies, you can banish pesky fairy rings from your yard and enjoy a healthier and more beautiful lawn.

Fairy Rings

Fairy rings are a type of fungal disease that can cause unsightly rings or arcs of dark green grass in lawns and turfgrass. These rings are caused by the growth of fungi in the soil, which release spores and cause the grass to become more green and healthy-looking in the affected areas. However, having fairy rings in your yard can also be a nuisance, as they can cause the grass to become hardened and difficult to water.

There are three main types of fairy rings: Type 1, which is caused by fungi growing on decaying organic matter in the soil; Type 2, which is caused by fungi growing on tree roots; and Type 3, which is caused by fungi growing in association with thatch or other organic material in the soil. Each type of fairy ring requires a different approach to get rid of them.

If you have fairy rings in your yard, it is important to take action to prevent them from spreading and causing more damage to your lawn. One method to control fairy rings is to blend the infected soil with unaffected soil by rotating the turfgrass every few days. This will help prevent the fungus from spreading and will also help improve the overall health of your lawn.

In addition to rotating the turfgrass, there are other remedies that can help get rid of fairy rings. Applying a product that contains beneficial fungi to the infected areas can help break down the organic matter and reduce the presence of the fairy ring. Some garden centers and online retailers sell organic fungicides specifically designed to combat fairy rings.

In some cases, it may be necessary to remove the affected turfgrass and replace it with new grass. This can be a difficult and time-consuming feat, but it is often the most effective way to eliminate fairy rings from your yard. After removing the infected grass, thoroughly water the soil to help flush out any remaining spores.

Preventing fairy rings from appearing in the first place is the best approach. This can be done by regularly maintaining your lawn, including regularly aerating and dethatching, avoiding excessive thatch buildup, and providing proper irrigation and drainage. In addition, keeping your lawn healthy and well-fertilized can make it less susceptible to fairy rings.

It is important to note that fairy rings are more common during prolonged periods of wet weather, in areas with sandy soils, and in regions with milder winter conditions. In southern zones, fairy rings are often caused by drought conditions, which can cause the organic matter in the soil to become more concentrated.

In conclusion, fairy rings can be a frustrating problem for gardeners and homeowners. However, with the right knowledge and tools, it is possible to banish these pesky rings from your yard and enjoy a lush, green lawn once again.

Diagnosing Fairy Rings

Fairy rings are a common turfgrass disease that can be a feat to deal with for many Southern gardeners. These rings are a result of fungi favoring certain types of turfgrass, creating a layer of organic debris that helps promote their growth.

Diagnosing fairy rings can often be enough to rid your yard of these pesky rings. Look for bright green areas of lush grass that form a ring or arc in the lawn. This is a telltale sign of fairy rings.

To fully diagnose fairy rings, it is important to remove a small section of turfgrass from within the ring. Look for fungal growth or mycelium, which are the threads of the fungi, as well as mushroom-type structures or spores. If these are present, then it is likely that you have a fairy ring problem.

Once you have diagnosed fairy rings in your yard, there are several treatment options to consider. One commonly recommended remedy is to apply fungicides to the turfgrass. However, this may not be the most effective solution, and fungicides can be expensive and harmful to beneficial organisms.

An alternative treatment option is to manage the water and thatch layers in your lawn. Fairy rings often grow in areas with excessive thatch or compacted soils. By blending compost into the thatch layer and improving water management, you can help prevent the growth and spread of fairy rings.

Another important step is to remove any organic debris or dead plants from the affected area. This will help eliminate the fungi’s food source and discourage their growth.

In some cases, it may be necessary to fully remove the affected turfgrass and replace it with new, disease-resistant varieties. This can be a more drastic treatment, but it is often the most effective way to get rid of stubborn fairy rings.

Overall, diagnosing fairy rings is the first step towards banishing these pesky lawn rings from your yard. By understanding how they form and the conditions they favor, you can take proactive measures to prevent their occurrence in the future.


Controlling fairy rings can be a challenging task, as they are influenced by various factors, including weather conditions, soil type, and turfgrass management practices. Here are some effective methods to banish those pesky fairy rings from your yard:

  1. Diagnosing the problem: The first step in controlling fairy rings is to diagnose the problem correctly. By understanding what causes these rings in your garden, you can take appropriate steps to prevent or treat them.
  2. Removing the outer ring: For smaller fairy rings, removing the outer ring of mushrooms can be an effective remedy. However, this method may not be sufficient for larger rings, as the underground mycelium can still cause damage to your lawn.
  3. Applying fungicides: In cases where the fairy rings are causing substantial damage, applying fungicides can be a suitable treatment option. Make sure to choose a product that is labeled for fairy ring control and follow the instructions precisely.
  4. Rotating water patterns: Fairy rings often form in areas where water is distributed unevenly. By rotating your water patterns, you can disrupt the favored conditions for fairy rings and prevent their formation.
  5. Improving soil conditions: Fairy rings tend to thrive in soil with excessive thatch or poor drainage. Regularly aerating your lawn, removing thatch, and ensuring proper drainage can help prevent the formation of fairy rings.
  6. Using organic remedies: Some organic remedies, such as cornmeal or compost tea, can help control fairy rings. These remedies provide beneficial microbial activity in the soil and help alleviate the effects of the fungus causing the rings.
  7. Choosing resistant turfgrass varieties: Certain turfgrass varieties are more resistant to fairy rings than others. Research which types of turfgrass are suitable for your zone and consider replacing susceptible varieties with more resistant ones.
  8. Cooperative gardening: If you have neighboring areas affected by fairy rings, coordinating with your neighbors to implement control measures can be more effective. Fairy rings can spread easily, so a collective effort can help minimize the problem.

Remember, controlling fairy rings can be an ongoing process, as the fungus responsible for their formation can persist in the soil. It is essential to be proactive and implement prevention and management strategies to rid your garden of these pesky rings.

Gardening: How to banish pesky fairy rings from your yard

If you have noticed strange circles or arcs of mushrooms popping up in your lawn, you may be dealing with fairy rings. Fairy rings are a common lawn problem caused by a fungus that grows in a circular pattern underground. These rings can be an eyesore and may even cause damage to your turfgrass if not properly managed.

Diagnosing a fairy ring can be difficult, as there are different types with different symptoms. However, the most commonly seen fairy rings consist of a ring of mushrooms or darker green grass, surrounded by a dead zone of grass. If you see these signs in your yard, it’s likely that fairy rings are the cause.

To banish these pesky fairy rings, there are a few remedies you can try. One effective method is to remove thatch from your lawn. Thatch is a layer of dead grass and other debris that accumulates over time. Removing this layer can help break up the fungal network that is causing the fairy rings.

Another remedy is to treat the affected areas with a fungicide. Fungicides can help kill off the fungus and prevent it from spreading to other parts of your lawn. However, it’s important to remember that fungicides are most effective when used as part of an integrated pest management plan. This means they should be used in conjunction with other cultural practices, such as proper watering and mowing, to fully rid your lawn of fairy rings.

If you are not a fan of using chemicals in your garden, there are also more natural ways to deal with fairy rings. One option is to physically remove the mushrooms and surrounding soil. This can be a tedious task, especially if you have a large yard, but it can be effective in reducing the numbers of fairy rings in your lawn.

Preventing fairy rings from occurring in the first place is also important. To do this, you can improve your lawn’s drainage by aerating the soil and removing any excess thatch. Additionally, providing proper nutrition to your turfgrass can help it resist fungal infections. This can be done by regularly fertilizing your lawn and making sure it gets enough water.

In conclusion, banishing fairy rings from your yard may not be an easy feat, but with the right management strategies and a little patience, it is possible. Remember to diagnose the problem correctly, choose the appropriate remedy, and take steps to prevent future outbreaks. By having a cooperative garden that blends both natural and chemical approaches, you can maintain a lush and healthy lawn that is free of pesky fairy rings.

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.