You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Inmate escapes from Tri-County Regional Jail in Champaign County

Dog vomit fungus, red thread striking area lawns

Last week I received a text from my son that included a photo of brown spots in his lawn. Being a brand new homeowner (and now having to take care of a lawn), he was concerned about these spots and wanted to know what he should do.

He was seeing the results of a disease called red thread. The pathogen that causes red thread is very active in spring and fall when temperatures are cooler (between 40 and 70) and there is heavy dew. We recently had cooler nights and have had heavy dews, leading to the outbreak.

The good news is that red thread doesn’t usually kill a lawn and the condition will disappear when temperatures warm up at night.

Red thread appears as pinkish-tan patches in the lawn that are about 4-8 inches in diameter. The symptoms are similar to dollar spot and other lawn diseases except for one main difference — the pathogen that causes red thread produces reddish, thin thread-like structures at the tips of the grass blade. These structures are called sclerotia and are very noticeable when red thread begins to develop.

Red thread tends to develop in Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and tall fescue turf that is low in fertility. One recommendation is to follow a regular fertilization program to keep the turf healthy.

Another common problem appearing at this time is one of the slime molds called dog vomit fungus. If you see this in the landscape you will understand why it’s named dog vomit fungus. It looks just like its namesake.

This is not really a true fungus, but rather acts like a plasmodium (parasitic protozoa) that is a predator in the decomposition process of hardwood mulch. We see this a lot in mulches that are composed of a lot of ground up hardwood pallets.

The massive blob of yellowish goo is actually the reproductive structure that forms during the right weather conditions. These structures produce lots of spores that are eventually released.

Dog vomit fungus doesn’t really cause problems in the landscape other than the fact that it just plain doesn’t look good. One method of control is to keep the mulch stirred up to prevent the mass from forming.

The other thing is to gently pick it up with a pitchfork or shovel and bag it and toss it in the trash. Remove the mass when it forms and before it releases spores. Don’t spray it with water as the spores will spread.

There are numerous types of slime molds and they are not toxic or harmful to plants. However, they can look a little disgusting in the landscape, especially this one.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Home Garden

Hershey getting health conscious, cutting chocolate calories by 2022
Hershey getting health conscious, cutting chocolate calories by 2022

The Hershey Co. is promising to make major changes in the calorie count of some of its chocolate snacks. The company announced last week that it wants to cut the calories in 50 percent of its standard and king-size confectionary snacks by 2022, and include easier-to-read nutrition labels on the front of 100 percent of its standard and king-size packaging...
101-year-old woman wins 100-meter dash at World Masters Games
101-year-old woman wins 100-meter dash at World Masters Games

She came. She ran. She conquered.  A 101-year-old woman from India won gold in the 100-meter dash at the World Masters Games in New Zealand. Man Kaur may have been the only athlete competing in her age division in the race, but she finished in 74 seconds. Not bad for someone who only started running at 96, according to Sports Illustrated. The...
Icons lost in one of Dayton’s most gut-wrenching murders 18 years ago 
Icons lost in one of Dayton’s most gut-wrenching murders 18 years ago 

This week marks nearly 20 years since the shocking death of one of the most dynamic and famous musicians in Dayton history.  Larry Troutman shot his brother and bandmate, talkbox pioneer Roger Troutman outside of Roger Troutman's Dayton music studio as part of a murder-suicide on April 25, 1999. Larry Troutman was later found dead...
When sending flowers just won’t do

Flowers. Don’t send them. My former colleague, Tim, lost his beloved Uncle Bill this week. People sent flowers. That’s what they do at times like these. Tim says don’t do it. Not because he didn’t adore his uncle. Oh, how he adored him. Still does. “He’s the man who influenced me to become a journalist,” he...
WASSO Kitchens Tour is Saturday
WASSO Kitchens Tour is Saturday

Some of Springfield’s hottest kitchens will welcome fans in this weekend. The 11th annual Women’s Association of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (WASSO) Kitchens Tour will highlight five different spaces, 1-4 p.m. Saturday, April 29. The tour is a fundraiser with proceeds benefitting the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. “We&rsquo...
More Stories