Rust in Turf – Turfgrass Science at Purdue University

Rust in Turf

The rain and temperatures this year have favored excellent turfgrass growth, and the N applied this spring is being depleted, thus favoring rust in even regularly fertilized turf areas. Rust symptoms are reddish-orange lesions or spots on the leaf blades and a rust-colored powder that you can rub off with your fingers. Rust will rarely kill a turf area, but it can thin a turf stand especially this year when it will probably stay active well into September. Rust is most common on slow-growing, under-fertilized lawns. Even though a wide variety of fungicides will control rust, the best method to minimize this disease is to fertilize. We normally don’t recommend fertilizing in August, so you could simply tolerate the rust for another four weeks and fertilize in early September. However, the forecast is for highs in the lower 80’s so professionals could apply now at 0.5 lbs N/1000 sq. ft. which will go a long way to reducing rust problems. Be sure to water in the fertilizer regardless of your application date.


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