An Australian man is confused when a giant ‘circle’ appears on his front lawn overnight

An Australian man is confused when a giant ‘circle’ appears on his front lawn overnight

When Dean Payne woke up one morning and went out into his garden, he was shocked to see a giant brown circle on his front lawn. “It came out about two weeks ago, it was overnight,” he told Yahoo News Australia. “At first, I thought it was some local kids playing with chemicals. However, the circle continues to grow.”

Initially, the near-perfect circle was “like a thin circle” but its size has increased every day since its appearance. Sometimes, at different times of the day, and depending on the light, a “very fine white mesh” is observed around the edge.

The homeowner said the brown spot in his garden appeared two weeks ago and has continued to grow in size. Source: Facebook.

Possible cause of the sudden brown circle

The strange discovery at his home in Albion Park, near Shellharbour in New South Wales, has left Payne baffled and desperate for answers. “I haven’t decided what it is yet,” he said. “But I’m thinking about grass mites.”

Lawn mites, or spider mites, are small, eight-legged arachnids less than 0.5 mm long, making them barely visible to the naked eye. Although it is found throughout the country, it is most problematic in areas with high heat and low humidity – mostly in eastern Australia – and can damage your garden.

“The first noticeable damage often occurs in the spring when the grass fails to start its normal growth despite abundant water and fertiliser,” says Stefan Palm, of South Australia-based Paul Munns Instant Lawn. “The mites sit at the base of the grass blades where they attach to the runner (called the shaft) and suck the life out of the grass. This causes the grass to fail to thrive.”

Soft white web on a brown patch of grass.

There is a fine web around the edges of the circle indicating spider mites are likely to blame. Source: Facebook

Having the internet is a dead giveaway

A Lawn Solutions Australia spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo News that “it appears to be spider mites that caused the circle” in Bain’s garden. The presence of the Internet is often a gift, said Hassan Rahmani, a former Victorian state government entomologist.

“Sometimes, poor lawn maintenance can contribute to spider mite damage,” he told Yahoo. “So mowing regularly and adding nutrients to the grass would have helped. But now, if it is a spider mite, the grass can be sprayed with miticides three times over a two-week period to get rid of it and try to strengthen the grass later.”

The “fairy ring” is also a likely culprit, the expert says

While Palm agrees that the web makes it “look like spider mites,” the “donut pattern” looks more like a fungal problem called a Fairy Ring — but it’s definitely one of the two.

“This can also leave mycelium (a web-like structure). There is no local fungicide available to treat fairy signet,” he explained. “It generally starts small and grows (as the donut-shaped ring increases in size), until you can’t see it anymore.

“The middle section will recover in most cases as the fungus grows. Fairy-ring lawns should be treated regularly with a liquid wetting agent because fungal residue leaves the soil completely water-repellent.”

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