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Rust fungus on grass


by Pippa Greenwood

I've just come back from a pear-harvesting foray, and as I stomped through the scruffy grass in the field I looked ahead and saw numerous patches of miserable, yellow grass.


Pippa GreenwoodYou can tell it is autumn, the grass is yellow. I've just come back from a pear-harvesting foray, and as I stomped through the scruffy grass in the field I looked ahead and saw numerous patches of miserable, yellow grass.

I assumed the yellowing was the result of leatherjackets or chafer grubs, which are so abundant and damaging at this time of year. But on closer inspection I noticed that just about every single blade of affected grass was a golden yellow-orange colour and covered with a dense mass of rust fungus pustules.

Just a few days ago the grass was a perfectly good green colour, so I wonder if it knows that it's now autumn. Autumn spells many things for the plant world, but for my warped, often rather pathologically orientated mind, it's not just about fruit harvests, pumpkins and squashes, but also rust fungi.

But here's the problem: rust fungi thrive when there's a lot of surface moisture about, and it hasn't rained for ages. The only moisture on the grass is from the morning dew. So can these early autumn dews really provide conditions damp enough to allow rust fungi to thrive? Thank heavens my leeks don't seem to have noticed it. Yet!



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Gardeners' World Web User 25/09/2009 at 13:25

Gardening in mild/moist climate of Devon, I noticed rust has arrived along a row of chives I grew this year. I have cut the infected chives down to ground level to avoid it spreading. Similar to Pippa I hope my leeks don't get it too.

Gardeners' World Web User 25/09/2009 at 15:29

Nothing to do with rust, but I'd appreciate some advice. I was a bit late getting in my early potatoes (due to a broken leg) and found that some were covered in very small white insects - almost like cigarette ash. A friend said it was potato eelworm, but I didn't see any evidence of cysts. Was this because I had been too late digging them up and they'd got past the cyst stage?

Gardeners' World Web User 25/09/2009 at 16:32

We had he same problem with runner beans this year as Josephine. Grew 'Armstrong' after reading GW reports-lovely beans but plants badly affected by this sooty deposit. They were near a honeysuckle plant. We grew some in pots a distance away and they are OK. Any advice welcome.

Gardeners' World Web User 26/09/2009 at 13:45

The sooty deposit on the beans sounds like sooty mould, which grows on honey dew, (sticky deposit secreted by aphids) Aphids are quite partial to new growth and flowers on honeysuckle too, so they maybe moved across! It does wash off, but to prevent it in the first place, you need to tackle your aphids!

Gardeners' World Web User 02/10/2009 at 11:09

dear pippa how can i stop my shitzu ruining my lawn with his wees everywhere

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