My shoes turn orange when I walk through my lawn.

What is that orange stuff all over my Shoes?!

The month of August is usually when we start seeing the symptoms of a rust disease.  Rust attacks grasses that are slow growing.  This is caused by things like heat and humidity, drought, and low nitrogen levels.  As I talked about in the “heat and your lawn” post, this season has seen quite a bit of slow growing conditions.  With the weather conditions of this season, I expect to see some symptoms of rust in the next few weeks.   As of today, I have not seen any symptoms, but here is what to expect:

Symptoms of Rust

-One of the easiest ways to tell if you have rust is after walking through your lawn you notice an orange or orange/brown dust covering your shoes.  This orange color might cover your lawn mower wheels as well.

After taking a closer look at your lawn, you will see this orange colored dust on the grass blades.  This disease really looks more severe than it actually is.  It is mostly cosmetic and a nuisance (not a health risk).  In my years of experience, I have never seen a rust disease cause any significant decline in established turf.

How do we get rid of it?

An application of a slow-release nitrogen product (fertilizer) should control this disease.  The nitrogen will promote some growth in the slow-growing turf.  With some rain and regular mowings, the grass will outgrow the disease cycle.

The summer application I will be applying in August-September will help control the rust diseases.

Matt

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