Puccinia spp.

What is Lawn Rust?

Lawn Rust is caused by fungal pathogens. It's usually Crown Rust (Puccinia coronata), or sometimes in the South Island, Stem Rust (Puccinia graminis). It generally occurs between early summer and late autumn, while the weather is warm and wet. Spores are spread by wind and rain.

Ryegrass and tall fescue lawns are susceptible to rust. This disease doesn't usually cause grass to die off completely, but it does severely depress overall lawn health.


Lawn rust starts out as yellow speckles or spots on grass leaves, then forms bright, rusty orange powdery masses of fungus spores on individual blades. If rubbed between your fingers, the grass will leave traces of orange powder behind.

How to protect your plants

Apply Yates Fungus Fighter to directly control lawn rust infections.

Lawns should always be watered in the morning so they dry well before nightfall. Excess moisture increases the risk of lawn rust.

Keep lawns well fed; poor lawn nutrition (and periods of drought stress followed by heavy rain) are often contributing factors to rust infections.

Too much thatch can create ideal conditions for rust, by increasing humidity at the grass roots. Thatch needs to be removed by ‘de-thatching’ or scarifying. It's done by mowing the lawn at a low level (this can be completed over several mows, lowering the mower at each cut) or very vigorously raking the lawn with a strong rake (sometimes called a thatching rake). Lawn scarifier machines are also available from hire merchants.

De-thatching established lawns is best carried out from mid-spring to early summer, so the weather is warm enough to encourage new grass growth. 


Plants impacted

  • Lawns
  • Turf
  • Oats
  • Barley

Recommended products

Yates Lawn Fertiliser Quarterly - Hose On

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Yates Lawn Fertiliser Twice A Year

Simply feed your lawn twice a year. A pro grade controlled release fertiliser that releases nutrients for up to 6 months, to feed your lawn in a precise controlled fashion - that keeps pace with your lawns nutrient demands.

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