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North Florida Climate Will Soon Favor Fairy Rings

Soil temperatures and weather conditions are becoming favorable for the development of fairy ring in the landscape.

Fairy ring Most commonly observed as a circular ring of mushroom growing on lawns and gardens, the ring of mushroom growth, termed “fairy ring”, has its origin in fairy-tale and superstition.

However, it is the result of various basidiomycete fungi in the soil. Their appearance is that of the familiar shape of a mushroom with a central stalk and a cap containing gills on its underside.

Given the right environmental conditions, such as prolonged periods of high humidity, high air temperatures (above 90°F) and precipitation (natural rainfall or irrigation), fairy ring can occur. Normally fairy rings are seen during Northwest Florida’s wet summer months.

Nutrient for growth and development is derived from decomposing organic matter. Similar to a plant root system, fungal thread-like structures called hyphae move through the soil searching for organic debris as a source of nutrient. This is especially evident on  heavily thatched areas of the lawn. As the hyphae continue to grow, they spread outward in multiple directions colonizing new soil.

An arc or ring-like pattern is usually noticeable once mushroom growth and development is visible. The shape of the mushroom’s ring-like pattern outlines the outward edges or growing points of an expanding underground mycelium (fungal mat) network. That is the reason why fairy rings may get larger from one year to the next.

To learn more about “Fairy Rings” including types, safety considerations, and control options, please follow this link.

PG

Author: Alex Bolques – abol@ufl.edu

FAMU/CAFS, Gadsden County Extension, Horticulture and Small Farms Extension Agent

Alex Bolques

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/06/17/north-florida-climate-will-soon-favor-fairy-rings/