In continuation with our discussion this month of lawn diseases, today we are taking a closer look at Lawn Rust. Rust is a fungal disease that occurs on turf grasses when their growth is slowed. This usually happens in late summer or early fall, during periods of dry hot weather or when the grass is low on nitrogen. Lawn Rust can weaken the strength and heartiness of the grass and open it up to secondary diseases and lawn problems.
Rust appears as an orange or yellowish-orange powder (spores) on grass leaf blades. If you pick a blade of grass in an infected area you will notice the spores wipe right off in your hand. These spores can be tracked by your shoes, lawn mower or other means to other areas of the lawn and cause spread of the disease. Low nitrogen and low water availability slow down turf growth, allowing Rust to develop. Seasons with excess rain may have Rust outbreaks due to depletion of available nitrogen. Cool nights with heavy dew and light, frequent rainfall add to the ideal conditions for rust to develop.
Pro-Tech Lawn Care recommends good turf management for healthy grass as well as prevention of lawn diseases that tend to impact our region. We recommend our treatment programs as well as the following suggestions for care:
- Choose quality grass seed blends.
- Water early in the morning to allow for grass to dry.
- Manage thatch in the lawn.
- Check soil levels regularly.
- Aerate annually to allow for good oxygen and nutrients to reach the grassroots.