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Getting Rid of Lawn Rust

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Fortunately, rust disease is not a serious malady, nor does it occur every year on your lawn. Rust occurs most often in hot, humid climates in the northern, central, south, southeast, and eastern states. When you have a steady patch of 90-plus degree weather, showers and cloudy days followed by sizzling temperatures--that's when rust gets a toehold in the grass. Rust won't kill off your lawn, but it can weaken it sufficiently and expose it to more damaging diseases.

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Rust begins in shaded areas of the lawn where lingering dew and moisture from excessive watering has a chance to brew. Nitrogen deficiency can also contribute to rust. The spores are light and minute, easily spread by wind and footfall, or can be carried about underneath your lawn mower. You'll know you have it if the dust rising from your passing mower kicks up in a reddish hue. In a severe case, the blades of grass go yellow and droop.

Controlling Rust on Summer Lawns

Rust prefers new or year-old lawns, particularly Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue. You won't need fungicides to battle it. First, be sure to clean your shoes and the undercarriage and wheels of your mower (with 10 percent bleach solutions) if you believe you've walked across rust in the lawn.

Cut back on watering in the areas prone to the disease, especially in shaded parts of the lawn, and water only early in the day, allowing the summer heat to evaporate excess moisture. Mow as frequently as you can, without cutting the lawn too closely (scalping). Keep kids and critters off the rust as well.

If rust becomes more than a rare occurrence year after year, it's time to consult with a lawn expert about adding different over-seed or blended cultivars to your lawn to beef up resistance.

Source:

University of Illinois Extension



About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.



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