The Garden Corner by Ruth Williams It is that season of the year when the beautiful green lawns of spring get hit with the hot weather of the summer. This can cause a great deal of stress to the grass, so it is probably good to be reminded that the lawn needs to have one inch of moisture per week.
In order to encourage deeper root growth remember to water long and deep rather than trying to water every-other day. � The lawn can become drought stressed quite easily this time of year and cause melting out and other diseases to develop, especially in well-kept lawns.� After visiting with someone from the Gayville area who was seeing rust in his lawn, I thought perhaps we could address that issue. Rust sometimes becomes severe on susceptible varieties during hot periods of the summer when grass growth is reduced.
The lawn may have a yellowish to reddish-orange appearance.�You may see dust when you mow or see the orange on your shoes.�When rust is severe, the grass blades turn yellow, wither and die. Rust may also weaken a lawn and make it more susceptible to winter kill.�
Rust is favored by humid weather with night temps of 70-75 degrees and day temps of 85-95 degrees.�Wetness from dew lasting many hours after sunrise or frequent watering can also be contributing factors. Rust may be especially severe on Merion and Touchdown varieties of bluegrass which are highly susceptible. It is also apt to be a problem in shady areas, on closely cut grass and on newly laid sod.�
It is easily controlled by maintaining adequate fertilization and water. Mow in a timely
fashion and remove the clippings to remove the fungus.� Fungicide is usually not needed unless it is quite severe.
It is also time for damage from grub worms to manifest itself in the lawn. There have been quite a few grubs in the garden. If you see brown spots developing in the lawn it could be the grub worms that feed beneath the soil eating the roots and destroying the grass.
If you can pull up on the grass and it comes loose in chunks, you can be quite certain you have grubs. As you remove the chunks of dead grass you will also find the grub worms. Once the grubs are large they are very difficult to kill.
There are several products that will control these pests. � You will find them available at your local lawn and garden center.
Master Gardener Ruth Williams of Wakonda is guest columnist this month. She recently retired after a long career as music teacher at Wakonda Public School. She and her husband farm near Wakonda.