Rust typically develops on lawns growing very slowly. Higher
temperatures may also contribute to slow growth. Overall, the
turf may assume a yellow, red, or brown appearance. A close look
will reveal the pustules, which easily rub off on your hand.
Rust spores can easily be tracked into homes.
Low fertility (in particular nitrogen) and low water
availability slow down turf growth, allowing rust to develop.
Seasons with excess rain may have rust outbreaks due to loss of
available nitrogen. Cool nights with heavy dew and light,
frequent rainfall add to the ideal conditions for rust to
develop. Warm, cloudy, humid weather followed by hot, sunny
weather also favors rust development on lawns. Kentucky
bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue are all affected,
depending on cultivars. Rust spreads through air, water, shoes,
equipment, and sod. Rust may weaken turf grasses and make them
more susceptible to other problems.
Control rust through sound turf management. Begin by choosing a
quality blend of turfgrass seed. Resistance to rust can vary
according to the race of the disease present. Maintain lawns
through sound watering, mowing, and fertilizing. If you are
watering, water early in the day so the grass dries quickly.
Manage problem thatch. Increase vigor with an early fall
nitrogen application, but don't overdo it. Check soil phosphorus
and potassium levels through soil testing. Also assure good
airflow over the site, and provide light penetration by pruning
trees and shrubs in the area near the lawn.
A change in the weather will make rust fade away. Early
September is a key time for fertilization. Use something with an
even analysis or a winterizing fertilizer. If conditions are
dry, irrigation is also needed to increase the growth rate of
the lawn. Fungicides are rarely suggested on home lawns for rust
control, just focus on the listed cultural practices described
above – and it is not recommended to mow the lawn in white
tennis shoes, unless you are trying to determine if you have
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We are at a possible time to control Zimmerman Pine Moth.
Zimmerman pine moth is one of those “kind of borers.” It
generally affects only severely weakened trees, and goes just
under the bark to girdle the cambium layer at a branch whorl. It
seems like older Scotch, red, and Austrian pines are favorites
when they begin to decline. There are other problems which cause
the sap to leak out, and they include diseases and birds.
Frequently, the damage from a severe infection of the pine moth
leads to the branch, or top, breaking off in a wind storm.
Permethrin or bifenthrin would be options to attempt to control
the pine moth, and it should be applied as a broadcast spray
concentrating on the branch junctions and main trunk with a
Keep up with spray programs for apples until shortly before
harvest. This will help control the sooty mold which looks like
charcoal dust on apples. It does scrub off, but notice I said
scrub and not rub. Sooty mold is usually worse on the yellow
type apples, or at least more noticeable.
Also, the population of spiders, crickets, and other home
invaders has grown by leaps and bounds the past week or so. This
means to keep up the foundation treatments to provide a
protective barrier against these insects. Permethrin or
bifenthrin insecticides are the most commonly used now.
[By JOHN FULTON, COUNTY EXTENSION
DIRECTOR SERVING LOGAN, MENARD, AND SANGAMON COUNTIES]