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Can Lawn Rust Cause Allergies?

At some point, most people suffer from seasonal allergies.

Even with that being the case, it can still be difficult to figure out whether or not the irritating allergen is coming from a nearby oak tree, or in your lawn.

Lawns harbor pests, diseases, and pathogens that can post allergenic and harmful effects.

Nonetheless, lawn rust is not responsible for atopic or allergic symptoms. Grass allergies and benign effects are triggered by lawn mowing and other lawn maintenance practices.

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In order to determine the cause, it is important to consult with a physician.

This post will explore the correlation between lawn rust and allergic symptoms, discusses the prevalence of lawn rust, what causes it and how to avoid it. Consequently, it will help you better understand the phenomenon.

What causes rust in grass?

Common rust in grass is caused by the fungus known as Puccinia sorghi, which is spread from plant to plant.

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Others are:

  • Puccinia graminis (Black Stem Rust)
  • Puccinia coronate (Crown Rust)
  • Uromyces dactylidis ( Leaf Rust)
  • Puccinnia striiformis (Yellow Stripe Rust)

This disease is most common in dry conditions and often leads to discolored areas of the grass that turn brown or yellow.

These symptoms indicate an infection of rust fungus in a lawn as well as thinning of its outer layers.

The fungus spreads easily through direct contact by spores on the wind, rain, or insects touching stems and leaves of infected plants.

Spraying water on the grass is a common way for rust to spread.

Another way for rust to spread is by an individual who has run across infected grass and then steps on another piece of grass, thereby spreading the fungus.

How to remove surface rust
How to remove surface rust

This may happen especially on sports fields where players are constantly running across different pieces of contaminated grass.

Can lawn rust cause allergies?

If one is allergic to grass, then they are at risk of getting an allergic reaction to a rust infection.

If one is not allergic to grass, then they will not be affected by a rust infection.

Although fungal infections in the home lawn such as rust and brown patch are not harmful to humans, they can lead to decreased quality of the grass and thus to the loss of its beauty.

Thus it is recommended that homeowners should inspect their lawns for such fungal infections to prevent further damage.

In addition, when it gets wet during the rainy season there’s an increased risk of rust spores spreading.

What are the symptoms of a lawn that is infected with rust?

The symptoms of a lawn infected with rust have discoloration of the leaves and stems as well as necrotic spots on the blades.

Irregularly shaped yellow and brownish spots will be apparent.

These are the common signs of rust, although they may be difficult to detect at first.

More advanced symptomatic evidence include irregular chlorosis or chlorotic streaks along the leaf margins and random yellow blotches on leaves that may be large enough to cover a quarter or a half of a leaf.

Raised or ruptured areas, which are called pustules, are also typical rust symptoms that are raised and brownish-black in color.

These symptoms are similar to the common rust of wheat, barley, oat and rye.

Is lawn rust poisonous to pets?

Lawn rust does not cause poisoning in domestic animals.

This fungus does not produce toxins that can be harmful to animals in any way.

It is just a nuisance because of the discoloration and yellowing that it causes.

However, this fungus is host specific and normally only affects plants and not animals.

After an infection, the fungus is gone and its spores create new fungal growth in other plants.

However, there is a chance that your dogs and cats can still catch the rust fungus from infected grass and spread it to other vegetation in your backyard.

E.g. if your pets dig up the grass while they are playing or resting in your backyard, they can spread the fungus to other plants in your yard.

Also, if you allow them to dig and run inside your house, they can spread rust spores to the houseplants you have at home as well.

What can cause allergies while outdoors?

Grass allergies can cause an itching sensation near the nose and eyes, possibly even a runny nose and watery eyes.

Symptoms may be worse in cold weather or when one is not active for long periods of time.

Grass allergies can also cause a burning sensation on the skin after prolonged exposure to grass, as well as an itchiness on the skin.

Pollen allergies can also lead to sinus congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes and possibly even a sore throat.

Scents, such as from a tree or flower, can also trigger an allergic reaction in people when they are constantly exposed to them.

Mold can grow in the soil and release spores into the air, which can then enter the respiratory system and cause an allergic reaction.

Can cutting grass trigger allergies?

Lawn mowing and trimming can cause a lot of airborne dust and particulate matter that can get into the lungs and trigger allergies.

This is especially true in areas where there is a lot of leaf litter and other organic leaves in close proximity to the lawn.

If one mows their lawn frequently, they are increasing their risk of leaving behind large amounts of freshly cut grass whose airborne particulates can cause a reaction when inhaled.

In addition, aerosolized grass pollen may be blown into a neighbor’s yard or apartment by passing mowers and lawn maintenance equipment.

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Will lawn rust kill grass?

Rust fungus can kill grass.

Rust is a fungus that infects the leaves of grass plants.

When the leaf tissue dies, it turns brown or yellow.

In time, the blade of grass may die and fall off.

Rust can also infect other plants that have similar leaf structures, such as clover and certain weeds.

Although rust will not kill your entire lawn, severe rust infections will weaken the grass and stunt its growth.

Similarly, discoloration from rust can severely detract from the beauty of a lawn.

A rust infection will kill the grass one blade at a time depending on the agents that cause its spreading.

This means that the rest of the lawn will remain healthy and green despite this one spot of brown grass. 

Can rust fungus form on new lawn?

A lawn with rust fungus is not always a sign of negligence.

Most rust fungus infections take place from mid-spring to late summer and are most common in warm regions of the country.

In areas that have heavy rains, soil that is not well drained, or intense shade, the occurrence of rust disease outbreak is much more prevalent than in other areas.

A freshly installed lawn can be infected with the rust fungus if the soil is poorly drained, so gardeners should take the necessary steps to ensure they do not overwater their lawns.

In addition, gardeners should try to keep their lawns evenly moist without letting them dry out. 

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Does lawn rust cause blisters?

Blister rust and lawn rust are caused by different types of fungi that cause distinct symptoms on the plant they infect.

White pine blister rust is one of the most common blister rust diseases that affects pine trees.

The fungus Cronartium ribicola is an opportunistic parasite and pathogen that infects seedlings and mature pine trees.

It is characterized by the development of one or more large, blister-like lesions on either side of the infected tree trunk or branch.

The oval or round blister-like structures may be present on one or both sides of the stem.

This infection can cause the white pine tree to die within a few years after the appearance of blisters.

Are there any rust-resistant grasses?

Turf varieties that have resistance to rust include, but are not limited to

  • bahia
  • centipede
  • bermuda
  • st augustine

Grasses prone to fungal infections include

  • Perennial ryegrass (Most Common)
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Tall & fine fescues
  • Zoysiagrass

When purchasing new grass seed or plants for your yard, look for the words “rust resistant” on the label.

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How long does lawn rust last?

The first symptoms of rust fungus can appear as soon as 7 to 15 days after exposure but typically appear around 4 month later.

The parasitic fungus grows and develops during the summer season and then dies off during the winter sometimes.

However, for most cases in mature lawns, rust may appear for more than 2 years before the plants are completely decimated by the disease.

Dormant infection may continue for longer periods of time, but the fungus usually stops spreading when there is a temperature drop below 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can rust fungus turn into mold?

A fungus is a simple, spore-producing organism that can be beneficial or harmful under varying circumstances.

Most fungi are non-pathogenic and are not actually able to cause infection in humans and animals because they do not have the cellular machinery necessary for attacking other life forms.

The rust found in lawns is a microscopic fungus disease that grows in the host plant’s tissue and damages the cell’s structure.

However, mold (of the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Rhizopus) is actually another saprophytic fungus but is actually a form of mildew known as gray or white mold that grows on decaying plant matter or moist surfaces.

Will lawn rust go away on its own?

Under optimal conditions, certain types of fungus are able to spread their spores over large distances in order to infect new living plants for their nutrition source.

Efficacious lawn care and maintenance will keep rust from coming back.

Although there are some naturally-occurring remedies for controlling rust on lawns, such as mowing and aerating, one of the better ways in eradicating rust from lawns is to use fungicides.

Chemical fungicides are made to kill the fungus on contact after 4 to 5 weeks of repeated application for maximum control.

Conclusion

A variety of factors can cause allergies, and while it’s not possible to say for sure what the cause is in your case, lawn rust is not the culprit.

It neither harms humans nor triggers common allergies in pets.

Allergies don’t present in a linear fashion.

The presence of one condition does not necessarily indicate that another one is missing.

In your case, it’s possible that you’re simply more sensitive to substances you inhale as part of your daily routine than most people are.

That said, it’s also possible that you’re sensitive to freshly cut grass, other plants or scents in your home.

If you’re concerned, you might have your house and lawn tested for mold.

References

https://turfdisease.osu.edu/news/rust-turfgrass

https://www.fs.fed.us/rm/highelevationwhitepines/Threats/blister-rust-threat.htm

https://striperust.wsu.edu/disease-info/symptoms-signs/

https://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/host-disease/clover-trifolium-spp-rust

https://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/plantclinic/documents/rust-turf-_td-4__final.pdf

https://www.planetnatural.com/pest-problem-solver/plant-disease/common-rust/

https://www.britannica.com/science/mold-fungus

https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/diseases/rusts/rust-of-turfgrasses.aspx

Zebedee Nambaleo
Zebedee Nambaleo

Zebedee is the founder of RealEstate Ke. He creates content by carefully examining and analyzing the real estate market, home improvement resources, and government data. His analysis is based on the principle of supplying high-quality, relevant, and in-depth information to his audience. By evaluating the current conditions and predicting future trends, he provides his audience with invaluable insights that allow them to make better decisions.