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How To Control Rustlawn rust

Turf grasses are prey to numerous pest and disease problems. If you’re a lawn owner, no matter how well you feel you are maintaining your lawn, you can surely be humbled by the presence of a lawn disease that will have you wondering what went wrong. One such disease you may find brushed onto your shoes by walking through your lawn. This lawn disease is known as rust.

Rust is a fungal disease that occurs on turf grasses when their growth is slowed. Don’t let the name fool you, lawn rust is not the same as rust that appears on metals but merely is a name that was given because of the color of the lawn fungus resembling that of metallic rust. This lawn disease usually makes its presence felt in the late summer or early fall, during periods of dry weather or when the grass is low on nitrogen. Rust can also occur when there is an excessive amount of moisture or dew present.

Fortunately, lawn rust is largely a cosmetic issue that doesn’t harm your grass. The orangish powder spores which characterize this fungus appear directly on grass blades and can easily come off on shoes, clothing, lawn mowers or anything that touches it. This mode of transportation allows for the fungi to spread to other areas if not treated.

While it is an eyesore, you shouldn’t leave rust alone and hope it goes away. Lawn rust can weaken the strength of the grass and make it vulnerable to other diseases and turf problems. If you have this problem on your lawn, Solutions Pest & Lawn can help with high-quality DIY products and expert advice.

Browse our rust control products below and feel free to contact us via email, phone or live chat if you ever have any questions or concerns.

How To Get Rid of Rust: 3 Step Solution

Lawn rust is usually a sign of a stressed, ill-maintained lawn and by just improving your lawn maintenance practices, rust will leave. However if the problem is particularly major and is not leaving easily with changes in weather conditions, fungicide should be used as a last resort to eradicate the issue. Solutions Pest and Lawn has a number of effective fungicides which can easily wipe out lawn rust. However, just spraying fungicide without the proper approach will not get you desired results. Take a look at our basic three step plan to remove lawn rust for good.


Step 1: Every effective control plan should start with an inspection of the disease and correct identification. Fortunately, rust fungus is quite easy to identify on turf. It looks like an orangish brown powder that is caked onto grass blades and leaves. If you walk over your lawn, you usually will have the rust fungi come off onto your shoes. However, if you’re not completely sure you can send us a photo of your lawn with close-ups of the disease to identification@solutionsstores.com and we will help you to identify the disease properly and any other diseases your lawn may have as well as provide product recommendations.


Step 2: As we mentioned earlier, by implementing proper care to your lawn, rust may go away naturally. However, there are cases when you need to use fungicides such as to prevent rust spores from forming or spreading. We have a number of different fungicides which can effectively treat and remove rust (our recommendations are found below). What’s most important when applying any fungicide you select is timing and attacking the disease in its early stages. Spray the affected areas immediately with your fungicide of choice. You may need to reapply the application after a period of 7-14 days to ensure the rust is totally gone.


Step 3: Once the rust is gone, you will have to work to keep it gone by giving your lawn some much needed TLC. Mow your lawn at the proper height, aerate your lawn occasionally to reduce soil compaction and watering infrequently can help to keep rust and other lawn diseases off of your turf.


Learn More About Rust

If you have cooler season lawns, particularly kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass or a mixture of the two (which is typical for people living in the north) what you may notice between late summer and early fall is your lawn may have a yellowish orangey cast to it as you look at it from far back.


You may also notice that after you mow or fertilize that your equipment will have an orange sheen on it as well as your shoes. If you have observed the following, chances are your lawn may be suffering from a rust disease.


Now the good news is that rust doesn’t typically cause any type of long-term damage to your lawn for the most part, however, it does affect your ability to keep an amazing looking lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood. If you have rust fungus on your lawn, this will be a blemish you will not be able to cover up easily as it is plainly obvious even from afar.


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What is the cause of Rust Fungus In Lawn Grass?


Rust lawn disease is caused by pustules and you can see the pustules when you look closely on the grass blades themselves and what happens i when you disturb them with your lawn equipment or step over them with your shoes, those pustules burst spores which get all over everything and then they’ll spread to the rest of the lawn as well as travel from lawn to lawn via commercial equipment.


Rust disease does overwinter so if you have it this year, if conditions persist, next year you may encounter it at the same time.


How To Inspect For Rust Fungus On Your Lawn

You can identify the presence of rust on your lawn by simply pulling a couple of blades out of the turf. The blades will have orange reddish to yellowish brown dust or spores caked onto it. The lawn rust starts initially with the leaf blades turning yellow and gaining small yellowish spots which eventually turn orange, red or brownish in color. The spores can be rubbed off the grass blades with a finger. Often you will notice this rust on your shoes if you step on grass that has rust on it or on the blades of your mowing equipment after cutting the grass. All in all, patches of grass which are infected by rust disease will start to thin and become weaker compared to healthy unaffected grass


There are a variety of plants which are vulnerable to suffering from rust fungus, from grasses to ornamentals to even evergreen plants. You can hardly miss rust problems on grass due to the ample amount of space the turf covers.


The spores of rust usually form when there are cool nights with heavy dew and frequent rainfall. Warm, cloudy, wet conditions followed by a hot day with high heat from the sun beating down also help to formulate spores. Basically, anytime the grass is not allowed to dry out after a period of 6 to 8 hours, rust on grass begins to form. Grass rust problems also appear more frequently when thatch in lawns is too thick or mowing is not carried out frequently enough.


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Damage Which Can Be Done By Lawn Rust Disease

Grass blades on your lawn which have been coated with rust fungus can lessen the ability of the grass to conduct photosynthesis. The pieces of turf collect solar energy from the sun, which is transformed into starches or plant sugars to fuel the development of the grass.


When the grass is infected by the spores of rust diseases, the photosynthetic activity can't be completed effectively and the fuel for wellbeing and development isn't sufficiently gathered. Poor life and a vulnerability to bugs and different diseases will potentially hinder the infected grass even further because of the presence of rust. What's more, the gathering of spores gather up dusts when active on the grass with cutting and mowing and may stick to shoes and yard or garden hardware, further allowing it to spread around the property.


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Preventing Rust Fungus From Developing

While the reason you may be on this page is because you have seen rust on your lawn and want to get rid of it, what is usually the case with most lawn diseases you may encounter is that prevention of the diseases is an easier task to carry out then removing the disease when you have it.


So what you should do when the disease is not present is to put down a fungicide, either granular or liquid, about two weeks before the problem occurs. This should be done sometime in the later summer.


We have a number of great fungicide products which can effectively prevent rust from forming on your lawn.


Better Safe Than Sorry: Equip Yourself With Protective Safety Equipment Before Spraying


Control Options For Rust Fungus

There are a number of things you can do to reduce or eliminate the presence of rust disease on your lawn. You can start by upping the frequency of mowing your lawn and keeping it at a height that isn’t too tall and is not too short. What you should also do is wash off any lawn equipment you use to lessen the likelihood of the disease spreading to areas that have been unaffected by the fungus.


Rake and discard that turns out to be more than ½ inch deep, as this will improve air circulation and takes away the ideal conditions for spores to multiply and reproduce. Water at an early hour in the day so the grass has an opportunity to dry before the high temperatures of the day come in.


Test your soil before treating in fall and include nitrogen if fundamental. September is the ideal time to fertilize your turf. Much of the time, applying a chemical control via fungicides isn't suggested or fundamental as the grass won't cease to exist. If your rust disease issue is particularly extreme, the grass can come down with an ugly appearance.


In some regions of the country, cultural control practices and environmental modifications are not enough to eliminate the rust issue. Should this be the case for you, it is then proper to apply a fungicide to keep the spores from developing further.


If you do currently have rust on your lawn and you don’t like the way it looks and you don’t like what it’s doing and you want to get rid of it quickly, you can apply a fungicide on top of the areas where you see the rust. Basically what that is going to do is stop the disease in its tracks and help to clear it up faster.


Products which contain chlorothalonil (such as Chlorothalonil 500 ZN) and azoxystrobin (Strobe 50WG Systemic Fungicide) are proven materials when have demonstrated to be very effective against lawn rust disease. Propiconazole (Patch Pro Fungicide) and Heritage G Fungicide products have also been reported to be very effective in eliminating lawn rust. Other products we have listed may be effective only when applied as a preventative and only when disease pressure is low to moderate.


Another thing that your lawn really needs to end the rust fungus is a good dose of nitrogen. Mainly the the dose of nitrogen is going to do is help the grass grow out and be pushed out of your lawn that way so you can get back to your healthy grass that’s essentially underneath. For faster results, use a synthetic fertilizer.


Additional Helpful Resources:


How to Treat Rust on Plants | HGTV


Rust Diseases — Center for Turfgrass Science — Penn State University


[PDF]Rust Diseases - Purdue Extension - Purdue University

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