Fairy Rings in Turf

— Written By Thomas Glasgow and last updated by
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According to NC State Extension, over 60 species of fungi have been associated with fairy ring symptoms in turfgrass. Symptoms and degree of damage vary, so a particular fairy ring might be classified as Type I, Type II or Type III. While we tend to associate “fairy rings” with images of mushrooms growing in large circles, mushrooms might or might not actually be present.
What should be done if you encounter fairy rings on your property? First, consider that fungicides for fairy ring work best on a preventative basis, not after-the-fact when symptoms are already present. Secondly, given the large number of fungal species potentially involved, turfgrass managers would have to experiment with different fungicides to determine what works best in a given location. For these reasons, attempts by homeowners to manage fairy rings with off-the-shelf fungicides are likely to be a waste of time and money. Leave this to turf professionals working on very specific, high-value sites such as putting greens.
There are non-chemical management steps that can be considered, and the NC State Extension information note Fairy Ring in Turf is the place to start for detailed information on the fairy ring phenomenon.
The images below show a rather impressive fairy ring on the grounds of the Craven County Agricultural Building in July of 2022.
A fairy ring of large white mushrooms in a circle of grass, darker and greener than the grass around it.
Fairy ring seen at the Craven County Agricultural Building, July 2022.
Small rounded white mushrooms emerging from a lawn.
Close up of developing mushrooms.
Larger flat white mushrooms in a patch of deep green grass.
More fully developed structures of the same species. According to the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic, these are likely the fruiting structures of Chlorophyllum molybdites, but a plant pathologist would need to examine a physical sample up close to confirm.