Rust Disease afflicts grass towards the end of summer and into early autumn. Wet summers, longer dewy periods and resulting fungus can give way to this disease which will spread across natural grass lawns so that yellow to brown patches appear, spores and pustules of varying rusty shades are produced on the blades and leaves and travel through the air. When a person walks over them or sits on them their clothes or skin will be stained by the spores.
While the grass is not usually killed by Rust Disease it is an unwelcome and displeasing problem that may not be remedied until the growing season in spring.No chemical treatments are available and the Royal Horticultural Society recommends using low nitrogen fertilizers with regular mowing and air provision to control the disease.
Fusarium patch or snow mould is the culprit for brown patches on the lawn in autumn, spring and during mild winters and yet again it is fungus based. The bad guy is Microdochiumnivale, previously called Fusarium nivale, and it damages turf grasses by turning the grass yellow, as it dies it turns brown. The patch size expands over time and separate patches can link together. A clue that your grass is affected is the appearance of cotton resembling pink or white fungus in wet conditions.
There is little chemical control, only one fungicide is on the market for domestic and amateur gardeners and like humans with antibiotics it cannot be used regularly because the fungus builds up resistance to it. R.H.S. advice is to try to stop it by providing good ventilation and drainage so that the grass does not stay moist and encourage the fungus.
Slime moulds, or to give them their official names, MucilagoCrustacea, PhysarumCinereum, and FuligoSeptica also known as Dog Vomit Fungus (oh, what lovely names) occur in lawns and can appear as if by magic overnight, most frequently in late summer to early autumn. They don’t harm the grass but they are not very attractive.
All three moulds produce minute black spores as they break down.
There is no effective treatment, jet or hose washes should remove the moulds. Outbreaks can cease as quickly as they arrived.
If these lawn health issues made you feel queasy or embattled we have a labour, chemical, time and anxiety relieving alternative to real grass: artificial grass. It never gets sick, no browns, yellows, rusts or moulds, just low maintenance high quality, visually stimulating, tempting green blades. A company like Touch of Grass readily advises about alternatives to real grass and offer free samples. But this does mean you will put an end to your lawn doctor career.
More information can be found on the Touch Of Grass website at https://www.touchofgrass.co.uk/2016-06-18
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