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Lawn Rust: What Is it, How to Treat & Prevent It

Posted on September 15, 2022 by Lawn Doctor

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Nothing improves the curb appeal of a property like a freshly mowed lawn. But if your once-healthy turf looks orange or yellow in patches, the chances are it’s developed lawn rust.

This common lawn disease can appear and spread quickly when the conditions are right. Luckily, it’s not the end of the world, as there are ways to restore your grass and bring it back to its former glory.

What is Lawn Rust?

Lawn rust or rust disease is a common condition affecting residential lawns, usually between late spring and early autumn.

It’s caused by a fungus that thrives in warm, humid weather and prefers shaded areas rather than being exposed to light. A few late summer days with temperatures in the 70s followed by morning dew or periods of cool, wet weather are the perfect settings for the rusting activity.

Rust disease presents itself as a yellowish-orange colored powdery substance. It can appear as a few spots on a blade of grass, or it can cover the leaf completely. These powdery fungal spores allow the disease to spread easily, carried from blade to blade by the wind or physically moved by animals and people walking through and brushing against it.

Does Rust Disease Affect All Grass?

Underfed turf can be particularly susceptible to lawn rust. And, unlike many other lawn conditions, rust disease loves soil with low nitrogen levels. Certain grasses are also more prone to the condition, especially:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Tall fescue
  • Perennial ryegrass

How to Identify Rust Disease in Your Lawn?

Rust disease is easy to identify when you know what to look for. In the early stages, you may notice patches of the lawn looking a light yellow color. Blades of grass from that area will have yellow or orange flecks that can be brushed off easily.

As the disease spreads, these flecks will become a powdery substance that sticks to everything. Look at your shoes and pant legs after walking across the lawn or at the lawn mower after going over any irregular patches of grass. If they’re tinged with orange, they’ve been through rust-infested grass.

Left untreated, rust disease outbreaks can lead to the turf thinning out as grass leaves begin to shrivel. Always pay close attention to particularly shaded patches of lawn and where the soil is compacted.

How to Treat Lawn Rust?

The good news is that rust disease doesn’t usually cause any lasting damage to your turf. It’s more of an annoyance that leaves the lawn looking unhealthy and in need of care. But, it’s important to take action before the infection becomes worse.

  • Keep your lawn watered.
  • Apply a quick-release and high-nitrogen fertilizer to help stimulate grass growth.
  • Mow the lawn regularly to remove rust-infected leaves. Be sure to rake and remove grass clippings after mowing to prevent the disease from spreading.
  • In extreme cases, using a fungicide could help control outbreaks. But, only use chemicals on well-established lawns if all other methods have failed.

How to Prevent Rust Disease From Returning?

Once the lawn is restored, keeping it healthy and growing thickly will help prevent grass rust from returning. Try these lawn care tips to encourage good growth.

  • Rather than watering your lawn for a short period every day, water it once or twice a week but for a longer period.
  • Use a nitrogen-based fertilizer to feed your turf once every two months.
  • Make sure your lawn is properly aerated and has good drainage. Fungi thrive in moist soil.
  • Minimize the shade your lawn gets by trimming back overhanging trees and bushes.

Why Use a Professional Like Lawn Doctor?

It’s possible to treat lawn rust yourself and prevent it from returning. However, if treatment is not done properly, this pesky lawn disease will return.

Bringing in a local professional such as Lawn Doctor can help save your lawn. Because they’re familiar with local conditions, our experts know exactly where lawn rust thrives in your region and the action needed to eliminate it and prevent it from returning. The treatment methods they use are thorough and can help ensure your lawn is back to full health in the shortest time possible.

If your lawn is looking off-color, you could have lawn rust. Catching and treating the infection early will stop it from spreading, eliminate the disease, and quickly bring vitality back to your lawn. Contact Lawn Doctor today and let one of our local professionals make your grass green again.

Tired of the tedious and grueling work of maintaining your lawn?

Contact Lawn Doctor to help care for your lawn when you can’t.

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