Red Thread

There has been an invasive weed that I have been battling for the last 10 years. It has only affected a small patch of vegetation the footprint being smaller than a school bus, but this little trouble-maker will not give up easily. It’s called Red Thread.

According to an article from Penn State University:

Red Thread and Pink Patch

Laetisaria fuciformis and Limonomyces roseipellis

Symptoms and signs

These two diseases present similar symptoms and appear as irregularly shaped patches of blighted grass. From a distance, affected areas have a reddish or pinkish cast. These diseases are usually restricted to the leaves, leaf sheaths, and stems, but in severe cases may kill the entire plant. In the early stages of infection, symptoms appear as small blighted areas on leaves that enlarge rapidly to cover most of the leaf. Affected leaves dry out and fade to a bleached straw color. During moist weather, the leaves may become covered with the pink gelatinous growth of the causal fungi.

The fine ‘threads’ finds vegetation to grow on while tiny vines envelope the plant and strangle the host. Since it is a fungus rather than a plant, it does not need a root system to continue to devour vegetation.A fungus growing on vegetation called Red Thread.

This problem I have with red thread popped up out of what seemed like no-where and it attacks vegetation in the same area each year. I go out several times a week and pull the stringy, gelatinous threads and the plants that are being strangled by the invasive in an attempt to keep it from spreading. Disposal is by burning the fungus and host plant.

During hot weather the strands can grow up to 12 inches a day.

For this year, the outbreak has been annihilated. Now that the ground has dried significantly, the threat of more growth has declined although I will monitor until the cool fall weather sets in. Next year I will be on the lookout for this on-going pest.


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