How To Identify And Treat Lawn Rust (Fungus On Grass)

lawn rust

Do you have orange grass? Does your lawn look like it has a disease? Maybe it seems to be coated with orange-red or yellowish dust?

Or perhaps your boots turn orange when mowing the lawn?

Well it is likely that you have lawn rust, which is a type of lawn fungus.

But don’t panic just yet… it is quite treatable and your lawn will likely recover from lawn rust. Let’s take a look at how to properly identify this fungus, and what you can do about it if your grass has it.

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What is Lawn Rust and what Causes it?

Lawn rust is a fungal disease that affect turf grasses.

It is usually prevalent in  later summer/early fall when the lawns growth is quite slow.

Dry weather and lack of nitrogen can also be factors that lead the lawn rust growing.

Identification of Rust Fungus on Grass

Identification of rust fungus on grass is quite easy and it just requires looking for a few easy to spot signs.

Look for these signs:

  • Grass blades are coated in an orange-red to yellow/brown dust or spores that resembles rust
  • You will be able to rub the dust off with your fingers
  • You may notice orange or yellow powder/discoloration of your shoes after walking on the affected grass
  • If the lawn rust has gone untreated for some time then you may notice raised pustules
  • Affected patches of lawn will generally become thin and weak

Images of Lawn Rust

Click the images below to see the full size version.

Problems Caused By Lawn Fungus

Overall, grass rust fungus is not a huge problem so don’t stress if you have noticed it on your lawn.

Some of the minor problems that rust fungus does cause includes:

  • Reduces the ability for the grass to photosynthesize
  • Lawn will look less healthy
  • Grass growth will slow down
  • While rust will not kill your lawn, it will cause it to eventually become weak and will be damaged easily
  • The dust will cling to shoes, clothes and garden equipment and may stain

Related: Super easy lawn care schedule

How to Treat Lawn Rust

Usually, lawn rust can be treated without the need to resort to chemicals or fungicides.

So first, let’s take a look at the non-chemical (natural remedies) ways to treat rust fungus on your lawns:


Fertilizing your lawn is the best way to treat lawn fungus. Regular fertilizing of your lawn using an appropriate spreader will encourage the grass to grow faster, slow growing grass gives the disease lots of time to develop and entrench itself in your lawn.

We recommend a nitrogen rich fertilizer such as Scotts. See why we recommend Scotts fertilizer here.

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Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food, 12.5 lb. - Lawn Fertilizer Feeds and Strengthens Grass to Protect...
  • Lawn fertilizer formulated to feed and strengthen your lawn and protect against future problems
  • Formulated with Scotts exclusive All-in-One Particle technology for even greening and feeding
  • Builds strong, deep roots, and improves your lawn's ability to absorb water and nutrients (versus an unfed lawn)
  • Won't burn lawn guaranteed
  • Apply to any grass type

Water In The Mornings

Watering your lawn in the mornings gives it time to dry out during the day, which will help discourage further lawn rust growth.

Watering regularly also assists your grass to grow quickly, thus discouraging further lawn fungus growth.

Mow Regularly

Mowing the lawn regularly cuts off the top layer of lawn rust fungus and allows the remaining grass to get proper air circulation – reducing the amount of time the grass stays we for which in turn reduces the amount of lawn rust that can grow.

It is also recommended to always use a  mower with a grass catcher so that the left over clippings aren’t left on the grass, negating the effects of mowing. If you don’t have a mower with a grass catcher, then rake up the clippings and dispose of.

Also ensure that your equipment is washed down properly after mowing to remove any left over rust dust.

Looking for a good lawn mower? Check out our guide on the best cordless mowers.

Using Fungicides To Kill Lawn Rust

Using Fungicides to kill lawn rust is usually not necessary, and due to the fact that most fungicides contain toxic chemicals we recommend using this method only when the previous three have failed.

If you do need to use a fungicide to control a particularly bad outbreak of lawn fungus, then you can use something like Scotts Lawn Fungus Control.

Be sure to follow the instructions of your chosen fungicide carefully.

Scotts Lawn Fungus Control, 5,000-sq ft, 6.75 Pounds
  • Controls brown patch, dollar spot and other common lawn diseases* *See label for listed diseases.
  • Use any time on any lawn to prevent or control listed lawn diseases
  • Systemic-action formula
  • Controls major lawn fungus problems without fertilizer application
  • Does not contain fertilizer

Lawn Rust FAQ

Will Lawn Rust Go Away On Its own?

It is possible to that lawn rust will go away on its own if you fertilize your lawn correctly. You will want to use a nitrogen fertilizer. This allows the lawn to “grow out” of the fungus and solve the problem.

Is lawn rust harmful to pets?

No, lawn rust is nor harmful to pets. You may however find that they get a bit of an orange tinge to their coat!
Dogs can safely play on lawn that is afflicted by lawn rust.

Is Lawn rust harmful to humans?

No, grass rust is not at all harmful to humans.

About The Author

Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. He likes to spend his spare time with his family, and doing DIY projects in the home and garden.

2 thoughts on “How To Identify And Treat Lawn Rust (Fungus On Grass)”

  1. I have this red fungus on my lawn. I will be aerating and overseeing the lawn. What should I use to feed the lawn after the overseeing. Should I use a fungicide or a turf builder with nitrogen.

  2. I think we might have that but this website made me know that very helpful. Also my dog has been losing fur by his eye we think its from this irritating his skin so we took him to the vet and they gave him stuff for it just letting you know.


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