Preventing Lawn Rust and Rust Disease

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August is here, and so is Rust. If you live in the Midwest, you’ve been enjoying a year with an abundance of rain—except for the last three weeks. If you’ve noticed that your lawn mower appears to be covered with an orange-colored powder or that your white tennis shoes have turned orange after mowing your lawn, then your lawn has developed rust.

Rust disease is common on cool-season grasses, especially perennial ryegrass, that often develops in the late summer, especially if there has been a good deal of rain followed by a dry period. The disease first appears as yellow to orange stripes on the grass blades. As rust disease progresses, it will erupt through the walls of the grass blades, releasing millions of spores into the lawn and into the atmosphere.

Rust does not occur every year, but when conditions are right, it can become a big problem.

If you’re seeing Rust in your lawn, it’s too late to apply disease control, as the disease has already run its course. You would’ve had to apply a disease control material three weeks ago to prevent the disease from occurring. The best thing to do is fertilize your lawn to stimulate new growth and mow off the damaged blades. You can collect the clippings to try to reduce the amount of spore distribution, but there will still be plenty left behind, so it’s not really necessary.

Your lawn will recover on its own, but it will recover faster if it is fertilized. If rain is not forecasted, water after fertilizing. It’s also a good idea to aerate the lawn this fall and overseed with disease-resistant cultivars of perennial ryegrass and bluegrass to ensure your lawn is in great shape for next spring. Want some help with your lawn maintenance? Contact your local Spring-Green today!