Everyone who has a lawn holds some pride in its elegance and upkeep.
There is nothing better in the summer and spring months than tending to your lawn and your garden.
A healthy and enriched lawn can be the joy of any avid gardener.
So maintenance is key, though you may look at your lawn and feel, ‘Its just grass’, it is not just grass, and though grass is one of the hardiest plant types in the world, it needs a little help from time to time, as just like humans, it too can catch diseases and get sick.
What Exactly Is Lawn Rust?
Lawn rust is an evil that every lawn owner must keep one eye open for. It is an infectious fungal disease that targets turf grass when growth slows.
This is often in the late summer or early fall months when the weather conditions are at their driest and your grass retains little to no nitrogen.
So what does it do? It weakens the grass that it targets which makes your grass susceptible to other diseases and problems.
It is infectious due to its fungal nature. Grass fungus rust spreads very easily due to its spores, if it goes unchecked, it will easily spread throughout the lawn.
Once it has established itself in a patch of grass it latches onto nearby transport, such as your shoes, clothes, and even your pets, which transports it throughout your lawn.
It’s worth keeping an eye out for this evil rust.
How Do You Identify Lawn Rust?
Identifying lawn rust is very simple and easy to do. If you are unsure if the rust is there, the easiest way to check is to pull a couple of grass blades from your turf.
Look these over, if they are covered with orange, red, yellow, or brown dust or spores then this is a sign.
Rust will begin by yellowing your grass blades, it may show up as small yellow spots that darken in color over time going from yellow to orange, to red, to brown.
If you cannot see the spores so easily, they can be spotted easier by rubbing them off the grass with your finger.
You may also see yellow flecks or pustules on the leaves/ blades, these shall eventually burst and spread more spores.
As the rust becomes more established your grass will look sicker and sicker. In the very most extreme cases, grass rust can cause bare patches.
Grass is not the only leafy lifeform to be in danger of rust fungus, decorative/ ornamental plants, and evergreen plants also suffer rust fungus.
But grass rust is the biggest threat, due to the vast expanses that grass covers, a lawn is much bigger than a singular ornamental plant.
Many conditions make life easier for these spores and encourage the production of them.
They form best in cool nights with substantial dew and frequent rainfall, as well as warm, humid conditions followed by the hot sun.
They form best in any period of time that disallows the grass to dry within a 6-8 hour time period. Less mowed lawns are more at risk of this fungal disease.
The Problems It Causes
One of the primary problems that lawn rust creates is when the blades are coated with spores.
These coated blades minimize the capability of the grass to photosynthesize. Grass blades collect solar energy from the sun which they transform into plant sugar/ carbohydrates which fuels the growth of the sod.
However, if these blades are coated with spores, they are unable to capture enough solar energy to photosynthesize and their growth and energy become inadequate.
It is much like if a person were unable to gain sustenance through food.
If you do detect grass rust on your lawn, do not fret.
So long as the rust is not dire, it will be simple enough to deal with, much like with humans, as long as the grass is healthy, you can assist it to fight off the rust itself. Here’s how…
Combatting Lawn Rust
There are many ways to combat the growth and formation of lawn rust.
There are even a few types of grass that are immune to rust fungus, ryegrass is one of these types.
Yet, if replacing your lawn is not an option or in your interests, there are many things you can do to control the formation of rust fungus.
Most cases of lawn rust are easily combatable with dedicated care, maintenance, and healthy lawn habits.
- Mow frequently- Keeping your grass at a moderate height will help you control and reduce the possibility of rust developing.
- Keep appliances clean- Rinse off your lawn equipment regularly to prevent any spread of the disease to other sections of your lawn.
- Controlling thatch- Rake and remove thatch that gets any more than half an inch deep, as it will remove circulation and provides an optimum breeding ground for spores. Don’t allow the spores to have any pivotal breeding environments.
- Time your watering- Water your grass early in the day, ensuring you do so before the heat of the day so that your grass has plenty of time to dry off.
- Test your soil- Test your soil before you fertilize, especially if you do so in the fall, be sure to add nitrogen if it is necessary. The most suggested time to fertilize is September, depending on your local climate.
- Remember-Chemical control is not always necessary unless cases are severe.
If your control measures to give optimum health to your sod does not work, then give your lawn a helping hand with a specialist fungicide.
BE AWARE. This is the last resort, as fungicides are not the healthiest option due to them being rich in harmful chemicals.
If you are unsure, try basic healthy maintenance first and keep fungicides as a last resort measure. The last thing you want to do is damage your lawn when you are trying to save it.