What Is Lawn Rust?

Serious lawn damage tends to start with relatively minor symptoms — ones that may be barely noticeable to the eye as your lawn faces threats. This is especially true in the case of lawn rust, a family of fungal diseases that begins with a small change in color and can eventually coat entire blades of grass.

Fairly common, lawn rust often grows most frequently on Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue or perennial ryegrass variety types. The disease typically appears in the late summer or early fall, when the growth of grass has slowed down.

Catching lawn rust disease in its early stages is essential to treat it in time and prevent its spread — but that also means recognizing how to identify its symptoms. The better you can spot and counteract the effects of lawn rust, the easier it will be to keep your turf healthy in the long term.

What Causes Lawn Rust?

When approaching the end of the growing season, it’s natural for lawns to be more susceptible to stress. This is due in part to shorter days with less sunlight, and periods of cool, wet weather. While these conditions are favorable to the development of lawn rust, this lawn disease is also often a product of lawns that are overwatered, have low nutrient levels and have thatch buildup.

What Are the Symptoms of Lawn Rust?

As the name applies, lawn rust causes your turf to gradually change in color from green to yellow, to dark red to even brown. The darker your lawn becomes, the further the fungus spores have spread and the more of the plant it has affected. Over time, lawn rust can eat away at your grass blades and indirectly make them more vulnerable to other lawn diseases and threats.

Is Lawn Rust Different Than Tree Rust?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Lawn rust and tree rust belong to the same family of fungi, and they have relatively similar symptoms and effects. However, the specific species of fungus that gives way to lawn rust differ from those that cause tree rust. What this means is that if your trees develop rust, you don’t have to worry about it spreading to your lawn — or vice versa.

With this said, it’s important to still keep an eye out for one type of rust if you notice the other. Both favor the same moist conditions and cool temperatures. In the event that you’re dealing with both lawn rust and tree rust, you’ll have to treat them separately.

Our Approach to Lawn Rust Control

When you report lawn rust, the Lush Lawn team will immediately get to work to protect your yard. Using our experienced lawn care techniques, we’re able to quickly stop the spread of the disease and get lawns back on the road to recovery. Here’s how:


Lawn rust is often a sign that your grass does not have enough nitrogen, potassium or other nutrients. Proper fertilization techniques return these nutrients back into your soil, strengthening grass and helping 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 throughout. The best way to combat thatch in your lawn is to perform a core aeration. Core aeration will open up the soil, allowing thatch to effectively break down.

While looking very effective on paper, mechanical dethatchers will damage the roots of healthy grass. Core aeration, on the other hand, will reduce thatch without damaging plants. This ensures grass rust won’t be able to harm more of your lawn.

We’ll also advise you on how to remove grass blade clippings after mowing your lawn, as this can also cause lawn rust to spread.

Controlled Watering

Lawn rust spores need moisture to grow, meaning that if you overwater the lawn, you increase the odds of rust fungus infection. We’ll work with you to determine the proper watering levels for your plants, as well as the right time of day to water them.


While changes in your lawn care techniques are usually enough to stop lawn rust, fungicides may be necessary for more severe infections. We carry the full range of fungicide products and know-how to safely and effectively apply them to yards.

Don’t Let Lawn Rust Disease Disrupt Your Lawn’s Health. Contact Your Local Lush Lawn Branch to Request Our Services.