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Any ideas... has me baffled

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by 4x4_Hunter, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. 4x4_Hunter

    4x4_Hunter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Okay, this is actually a thread on my personal lawn and not my customers. My lawn was orginated in fall '03. The lawn came back and look awesome in '04 but when late summer rolled around, I had an orangish iron-colored dust on the grass and when I would mow, it would get the whole front of my Grasshopper all orange. Also, the lawn started getting splotchy. I thought maybe grubbs so I put down some Grubb-X. Figured it couldn't hurt but I didn't really believe it. Now this year, the splotchy-ness (word?) of the lawn remained and with the dry conditions this year, the lawn just doesn't look healthy at all. I got a soil sample and I was low in N and Pot. Also, my pH was 7.2. I have just about 1.5 acres of grass. I put down 100 lbs N, 200 lbs PotAsh, and 200 lbs Sulfur. It seems that it has helped some.

    Now, I planted a bunch of trees last year and all were doing great. I have a type of silver maple (forget exactly which) out front that was one of the bigger trees. It came back great this spring and then about 2 weeks ago, it decided to die. So, now it has me thinking what the heck is going on. I am wondering if I am going to see the orange dust again this year too. Any thoughts???
  2. Garth

    Garth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 382

    Rust, caused by Puccinia spp., is not seen every year, but sometimes becomes severe on susceptible varieties during hot periods of the summer when grass growth is reduced. When rust is severe, the lawn may have a yellowish to reddish-orange appearance. A red-orange dust fills the air when the grass is mowed and also collects on shoes and clothing. Individual blades of grass will have slightly elongated yellow-orange to red-orange spots or pustules (filled with a rusty colored powder -- the spores of the rust fungus) that break through the leaf surface. When rust is severe, the grass blades turn yellow, wither and die. Rust may also weaken a lawn, making it more susceptible to winter kill the following winter.

    Rust is favored by humid weather with night temperatures of 70-75 F, day temperatures of 85-95 F, wetness from dew lasting many hours after sunrise, and frequent light rain (or watering). Rust may be especially severe on Merion and Touchdown varieties of bluegrass, which are highly susceptible. When weather favors rust, the disease is more likely to be severe on low maintenance lawns -- lawns with low soil fertility and some degree of drought stress. It is also apt to be a problem in shady areas, on closely cut grass, and on newly laid sod.

    Rust is easily controlled by maintaining good lawn growth with adequate fertilization and adequate watering. Once normal growth is obtained, mow the grass frequently at recommended mowing heights and remove the clippings, an important source of the rust fungus. Fungicides are not usually needed or economical for homeowners, but may be required to help protect new growth when rust is severe and weather promotes rust development.
  3. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 963

    Exactly what Garth said!
  4. firedude26

    firedude26 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Mich
    Messages: 269

    I had he same problem last year at my own lawn, i ferted the lawn with 24-0-11 at the required amount watered fequently and cut it a 1/2 in higher and it was gone in a week or so. It is not rare in our areas. i have heard alot of others in this area with it.
  5. 4x4_Hunter

    4x4_Hunter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks Garth. I believe this is exactly what I had last year. Thing is, my lawn is highly maintained and I always catch my clippings. Also, last year we had plenty of moisture. Anyway, I probably have a highly susceptible varitey of grass. This is probably what caused the spotty die-outs also. Maybe it was just because I was so low on N and Pot. That's the only fall-back with collecting the clippings. I think I will hit my yard again with some N in a couple weeks. I doubt this same item would have had any cause with my silver maple tree dieing though. That one really has me wondering. It was doing so well early this spring.

    What is a good broad-leaf seed variety that I can over-seed my lawn with this late summer? All of my lawn seems to be really thin, stringy leaf grass. I would like to get some broader-leaf stuff mixed in.
  6. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    Stay away from anything with rye, either perennial or annual. Use a blend of improved Kentucky Bluegrasses. The improved varieties are resistant to most rust strains.
  7. Tscape

    Tscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,370

    Why are you collecting your clippings? You are failing to recycle the nutrients that are contained in the clippings. The only place I have ever collected clippings is on a putting green, for obvious reasons.

    Everyone else who has responded is right on as always. :)
  8. 4x4_Hunter

    4x4_Hunter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Well, I build houses, work 9-5 engineering, and also do some landscape stuff still. Sometimes, it is hard to get to my lawn as often as I should and then if I just throw the clippings, they are too thick and end up smothering areas of the grass. However, I have in the past 3 weeks, found the time to mow it often enough and have started leaving the clippings down. That, along with some fertilizing has already started to help. What about overseeding the lawn this late summer with some Ky-bluegrass? Do you think that the seed will take hold and germinate since I would be overseeding? I think that the mixture I used had too much rye in it to start with.
  9. 4x4_Hunter

    4x4_Hunter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Even though I have started to drop the clippings, the last paragraph of Garth's post above states that to control rust, it is recommended to collect the clippings. I feel I'm Danged if I do and Danged if I don't.

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