how to get rid of rust

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by snowmizer, Aug 30, 2004.

  1. snowmizer

    snowmizer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    what causes rust to form in turf? I was told it is from lack of nitrogen due to drought conditions or extremely wet conditions. I have been noticing it more and more in some of the yards i service, could this possibly be caused by me in anyway? my first year fertilizing and i am getting concerned that it might be something i am doing. 3 yards that i have notice it in are mostly clay soil ,if this matters. also what is the best way to get rid of this? i was told by lesco to drive it out with fertilizer treatments? thanks for any info...
  2. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 456

    Do a search on this forum for rust. The topic has been discussed many times, and you should get some good answers just from doing the search.
  3. turfsurfer

    turfsurfer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 364

    Although Rust tends to be more severe in low fert. yards, that in itself is not the problem. Rust is a fungal disease usually seen in the fall. It usually hits perennial ryegrass the hardest. Since it does not usually kill the turf, the usual prescription is aerate and maintain fertility to encourage growth, as well as avoiding improper irrigation. Long term the best solution is overseeding with resistant turfgrasses.
  4. snowmizer

    snowmizer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    resistant turf grasses? i swear i feel like i am causing this, is that possible? i have 4 yards with rust including my own. i used 18-0-18 lesco fert. on all of these yards. one yard there is a section that i did not fert. and it seems fine, but the areas that recieved fert are developing rust. so i take it that keeping the nitrogen on it will drive out the rust? thanks for any info
  5. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,217

    I see rust every fall, some lawns always get it some dont, I never do anything for it, it seem to last only a few weeks or less.

    I do use it as a good tool to sell core aeration.

    All diseases are present weather or not there active depends on 3 things, non of them would be your fault.
  6. TSM

    TSM LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 707

    Unless it is not rust at all

    two red flags in my mind...
    1) he says he is new at fertilizing

    2) he says on one lawn there was a section he did not fert and it is the section without the problem.....hmmmm, might just be lack of experience and over fertilization (as in not rust but burn??)

    But rust is very common
  7. snowmizer

    snowmizer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    i have been spreading fert around every 30-40 days. I took some samples of grass to my lesco dealer and they said it was rust. when you walk through it gets on your shoes has a kind of orange'ish tint to it. I hope it is not me but i am concerned about it as this is my first year at it. I read somewhere that from all the rain we have had that it will deplete the turf of nitrogen and this will cause rust? lesco says to re-fert the yards as it will replenish nitrogen in the turf.
  8. snowbound

    snowbound LawnSite Member
    from Buffalo
    Messages: 13

    Rust diseases occur on all turfgrass species. Grasses growing under stressful environmental conditions are most easily parasitized by rust fungi. Rust-weakened plants are much more susceptible to injury from extreme environmental stresses and to attack by other pathogens.


    Early symptoms of rust diseases appear as light yellow flecks on leaves or stems. The yellowed areas of the infected spots enlarge and elongate parallel to the leaf or stem axis as the infection matures. The invading fungus produces spores inside the maturing lesion, which enlarges and causes the epidermis to rupture. The resulting pustules are known as uredinia. Exposed spores, called urediniospores, may be yellow, orange, brownish yellow, chestnut brown, or brick red, and they appear powdery en masse.

    When rust is severe, the infected turf area may appear thin, weak, and tinted red, brown, or yellow, depending on the particular rust fungus causing the disease. Heavily infected plants may wither and die from the excessive loss of moisture from rusted leaves. If teliospores are produced, the uredinia usually become dark.

    Pathogen ID

    Pathogen Identification

    Rust fungi that occur on turfgrasses include many species of Puccinia and Uromyces, as well as single species of Uredo and Physopella. The genera may be differentiated by their teliospore morphology. Teliospores of Uromyces and Puccinia are one- and two-celled, respectively, and have pedicels (stalks). Physopella teliospores have no pedicels and are catenulate (occurring in chains), with two to three spores in a chain. The genus Uredo is very similar to Puccinia.

    Identification of the species group and the grass host is often sufficient for identification of the rust fungus. On ryegrass and bluegrass for instance, the most common rusts of the temperate climates can be readily separated into stem (Puccinia graminis Pers.:pers.), stripe (P. striiformis Westend.), crown (P. coronata Corda), and leaf (P. recondita Roberge ex Desmaz., and P. brachypodii G. Otth) types. Stripe rust has linear uredinia, whereas the others have rounded to oblong uredinia. Only one or a few fungal species cause rust of alkaligrass, bermudagrass, buffalograss, carpetgrass, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass. This is helpful because, with few exceptions, the rust fungi are specific to species within the three grass subfamilies used as turf. Fungi that cause rusts of chloridoid grasses, for instance, are unlikely to attack panicoid or pooid grasses. Similarly, within the chloridoid subfamily, the fungal species attacking bermudagrass do not attack zoysiagrass.

    Physiological forms (races) of the species of rust fungi also occur; they differ in their ability to attack cultivars within a grass genus or species. Specific genes within the fungi determine their virulence, and the interaction of these genes with specific host genes determines the infection type on a given cultivar. Infection types are used to distinguish races of rust fungi.

    Although these fungi can produce as many as five different types of spores, only the urediniospore is important to the occurrence of rusts on most turfgrasses in cool, temperate or warmer climates. Urediniospores usually are round to oval, 15-40 mcm long, echinulate (possessing fine spines), and colorless to yellow, orange, or cinnamon brown.

    Disease Dev.

    Disease Cycle

    Infected turgrass foliage serves as the overwintering site for the mycelium and urediniospores of rust fungi in areas with mild climates. When weather is conducive to spore germination or mycelial growth, the foliage becomes infected and new uredinial pustules are formed. Urediniospores may also be transported over long distances by wind, and those from warm regions may serve as sources of windblown primary inoculum for colder regions where mycelium and urediniospores are not able to survive winter.

    Within 2 weeks after infection has been completed, urediniospores are produced in abundance and are released from the uredinia. This spore constitutes the repeating stage of rusts, with new cycles beginning every 2 weeks. Most rust fungi can also produce another spore type, the teliospore, when plant foliage becomes mature or dries slowly.

    These conditions occur primarily on unmowed grasses, and the teliospore stage is therefore of minor or no importance on most turgrasses. The teliospore, when produced, may overwinter and then germinate to produce a third spore type, the basidiospore. These spores become airborne, and if they land on a susceptible nongrass host, they can germinate and cause a new infection. For example, Puccinia graminis basidiospores only can infect barberry (Berberis canadensis Mill. and B. vulgaris L.).

    Basidiospores germinate on and infect barberry, and two more spore types known as pycniospores and aeciospores are formed. Aeciospores can infect only the grass plant, giving rise to urediniospores and thus completing the life cycle. It must be emphasized, however, that spore types other than urediniospores are rarely important for the occurence of rusts on turfgrasses.

    Disease Epidemiology

    Optimal temperatures for growth and sporulation of rust fungi vary but are generally between 68 and 86 degrees F (20-30 degrees C) for several important species. Rust diseases usually become most severe on grasses that are growing slowly under stressful conditions. Typical stresses include drought, nutrient deficiency, low mowing height, shade, and other pathogens. Leaf wetness is necessary for urediniospore germination and infection.

    Optimal conditions for infection by Puccinia graminis include concurrent low light intensity, moist leaf surfaces, and temperatures of about 72 degrees F (22 degrees C). After infection is complete, stem rust develops most rapidly when light intensity is high, leaf surfaces are dry, and temperatures are high (about 86 degrees F, 30 degrees C). In contrast to the warm-weather stem rust, the cool-season crown rust (P. coronata) produces urediniospores most rapidly at 50-68 degrees F (10-20 degrees C).

    Disease Man.

    Disease Management

    1) Irrigate and fertilize turfgrass as needed to avoid water- and nutrient-stress that impedes grass growth.

    2) Do not irrigate in late afternoon and early evening.

    3) Mow at recommended height for species. Lawns should be at least 2 in. (5 cm) in height.

    4) Increase mowing frequency to remove infected tissue before mature spores are released from developing rust pustules (usually 10-14 days after infection occurs).

    5) Design or modify landscaping to improve light penetration and air circulation.

    6) Reduce compaction with core aeration.

    7) Genetically-resistant cultivars of certain turf species are available and should be used in blends and mixtures of seed. Consult specialist for local recommendations.

    8) Fungicides can provide effective control. Consult specialists for current recommendations
  9. snowmizer

    snowmizer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    wow !!!!!! thanks. seems to be affecting lots of yards in my area this first i thought i could be overfertilizing but then started seeing it in yards i do not fert. thanks again!!!!! :waving:
  10. Tscape

    Tscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,370

    If every answer you give is that long, you'll never make it to 20 posts! :p
    Nice of you to do it though.

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