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Grass Rust Tells You How You're Doing

by Alex Russel, All About Lawns Columnist

Grass rust, or lack of it, is a litmus test on how your lawn is growing. When it appears, make sure you have all your basics covered.

Most lawn tenders have at some point come across grass rust, a brownish fungus that grows discreetly on the edge of grass blades. It's completely harmless, but it does rub onto the feet easily and gets dragged into the house. And if left alone or untreated, grass rust will give your lawn a bizarre golden glow.

The kicker with grass rust is that it is best prevented by improving general lawn care. Its presence simply tells you that your lawn is not well and needs to be better attended to.

Good Growing Kills Grass Rust
This is because grass rust fungus appears when the growth rate of lawn turf gets too low. If the lawn isn't growing at an optimum rate, the rust appears.
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The big culprit in lawn fertility is water management. If your lawn is soaked with over-watering or poor irrigation, nitrogen levels are depleted and the lawn stops growing. Conversely, if water is scarce, the lawn is left thirsty and won't grow. Both of these circumstances invite grass rust fungus and an unhappy lawn.

Out Water Rust Fungus! Out!
The solution is obvious enough. If your lawn is getting too much water make sure you cut back on watering and improve water circulation. Also apply the appropriate amounts of nitrogen fertilizer.

And if your lawn is lacking for water, get watering!

Another good defence against grass rust fungus is varying up the species of grass on your lawn. Lawn rust and other lawn predators respond differently to different grass species. Choose a good blend of grass and you'll find that the grass types will almost look out for each other. One grass type will fend off one fungus, while the other will kill another.

Late Summer Grass Rust Is Normal
And finally, don't panic if grass rust occurs late in the summer. Lawns - like humans! - lilt after a long hot summer. Chances are that autumn's growth spurt will ride it out without your intervening.

About the Author
Alex Russel is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Since graduating from Syracuse University he has worked at many different media companies in fields as diverse as film, TV, advertising, and journalism. He holds a dual bachelor's degree in English and History.

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