What is Lawn Rust Disease?

Serious lawn damage often starts with relatively minor symptoms, which you may barely notice even as your grass blades are being severely threatened. This is never truer than with lawn rust, a family of fungal diseases that begins with a small change in color. Catching lawn rust early is essential if you want to treat it in time and prevent it from spreading, but that means recognizing its symptoms and learning to look for them. The better you are at identifying and countering rust fungi, the easier it is to keep your turf healthy for the long haul.

What is Lawn Rust?

Lawn rust refers to a family of fungi that attack grass. There are many different species of lawn rust fungi, each of which feeds on a different type of turf. As the name implies, lawn rust causes your turf to change in color, gradually going from green to yellow to dark red and even brown. The darker your turf gets, the further the fungus spores have spread and the more of the plant it has affected. Rust tends to thrive in relatively moist areas where the days are warm and humid and the nights are cool and dewy. Given the climate of Southeast Michigan, this makes it a serious threat to all lawns in the area. While a wide range of grass species can be affected by it, certain types are particularly vulnerable, especially perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass. Rust is also more common in yards that are overwatered, where the soil has low nutrient levels, or where thatch has been allowed to accumulate around large numbers of plants. Lawn rust is not necessarily a death sentence for your turf. If you remove it quickly enough and keep your lawn properly nourished and watered, the grass blades should be able to return to full health and thickness within a matter of months. But if you fail to adequately counter lawn rust, it can spread all over your turf and cause serious damage, both directly by eating away at it and indirectly by making it more vulnerable to other threats.

Is Lawn Rust Different from Tree Rust?

Yes and no. Both lawn rust and tree rust are part of the same family of fungi, and they have relatively similar symptoms and effects. But the specific species of fungus that give rise to lawn rust are different than those that cause tree rust. This means that if your trees develop rust, you do not have to worry about it spreading to your lawn or vice versa. You should still watch out for one type of rust when you notice the other, however, since the same moist conditions and temperatures favor the development of both. If you do develop both lawn and tree rust, you’ll have to treat them separately.​

Lush Lawn’s Lawn Rust Treatment

When you report lawn rust, the Lush Lawn team will immediately set to work protecting your yard. Thanks to our experienced lawn care techniques, we can quickly stop the spread of the disease and get your grass back on the road to recovery with: Fertilization- Lawn rust is often a sign that your grass does not have enough nitrogen, potassium, and other nutrients. By proper fertilizer techniques, your yard and returning these nutrients to the soil, we strengthen your grass and help it recover from the effects of rust. Thatch Removal- If the soil in your yard is heavily saturated with thatch, it becomes easier for spores to grow and spread through your turf. We remove the thatch and dispose of it in a way that does not expose other grass to the fungus. As a result, the rust will not be able to damage any part of your yard it has not already spread. We also advise you on remove grass blade clippings after mowing your lawn, as these can also help rust spores spread. Controlled Watering- Lawn rust spores need moisture to grow, meaning that if you overwater the lawn, you increase the chance of infection. We help you determine the proper watering levels for your plants, as well as the right time of day to water. Fungicides- While changes in your lawn care techniques are usually enough to stop lawn rust, fungicides may be necessary for severe infections. Our team carries the full range of fungicide products and knows how to use them in your yard safely and effectively. Don’t leave fungus-free to attack your grass. For more information on healing your yard from lawn rust or to request a free estimate on lawn care, contact Lush Lawn today.
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