If patches of your lawn have started to turn red or orange, it may be the victim of Rust disease, just one of the diseases caused by fungi. Although the disease does not normally kill the grass, it can stunt lawn growth and also looks quite unsightly, as the grass leaves turn orange.
Usually developing in the late summer or autumn, Rust is a common disease in turf caused by various fungi which infect the grass, producing black or rusty coloured pustules, depending on the time of year. Many homeowners realise their lawn is infected with Rust disease when they find their shoes covered in orange spots after walking on the lawn.
The best way to control Rust disease is with regular lawn maintenance:
- Mow the grass regularly, making sure you remove all the grass clippings to prevent the spread of the disease.
- Try to improve light and air circulation by pruning any overhanging trees or shrubs.
- Ensure you feed the lawn during the growing season to keep it strong and disease resistant.
- Maintain good drainage in your lawn – Rust disease fungi are more prevalent in warm, damp conditions.
- Try not to use high nitrogen fertilisers in the autumn, as the resulting growth spurt is susceptible to the disease.
There are currently no pesticides available for the treatment of Rust disease. However, Rust disease is not permanent – usually if your lawn has been infected in the autumn, by the following spring there will be no sign of the disease. Maintain your lawn’s health with regular mowing, feeding and watering to keep Rust disease from infecting your grass.