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treating rust on leaves

Posted by dawgie z7NC (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 8, 05 at 12:41

I planted several Pink Muhlys in a new bed that I made about a month ago. I amended the original clay soil with some cheap planting soil from Home Depot and raised the soil level in the bed about 4-6" above the surrounding area to improve drainage. Then I mulched the bed with composted bark.

I expected the Muhlys to thrive but noticed last week that their leaves are covered with orange rust. Not sure how that happened, unless I watered them too much the first few weeks. It had been very dry here and I wanted to make sure they didn't dry out. I don't want to apply any heavy duty fungicides because some of them are extremely toxic, but I did dust the grasses with sulfur powder. They don't seem to be getting any worse, but not better either. Since then, we've also had a lot of rain during the past week -- almost all in the form of late afternoon thunderstorms.

Are there any other remedies that anyone could suggest? I was tempted to return the grasses to the nursery where I bought them since the rust showed up within 2 weeks after I bought them, but thought it would be treatable. Was I wrong to mulch the bed heavily? (I did rake away the mulch from the immediate area around the plants.) The spot where they are planted gets full sun from about 10 a.m. to 4-5 p.m.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: treating rust on leaves

Rust is usually airborne, so I believe that the mulch had nothing to do with it. Personally, I mulch at least a foot away from the crown from any grass, shrub, tree, or perennial. Grasses do not need much mulch to begin with, but thats a different matter. You can apply a foliar contact or systemic fungicide, whether being a systemic spray like Banner or BannerMax, or a contact like Neem, Daconil, Sporan, and so on. Either one would do, but make sure you apply the spray on the surrounding plants ( edible plants, do not apply systemic, just contact) for they may have rust spores on them as well. The neem oil and sporan are very non-toxic for foliar application, like you said you were looking for. The dusting sulfur will do the trick, but the rust will mark the foliage and leave scars. The best approach right now is to make sure the spores and the current fungi are treated now. After the winter for next year, give the muhlenbergia a haircut, and make sure to clean up around them leaving no old clippings around.

RE: treating rust on leaves

Thanks for the advice, A-Man. I'll give that a try.

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