South Africa Turf Disease Guide - Rusts: Crown, Leaf and Stem

Disease and Insect Control
South Africa Turf Disease Guide - Rusts: Crown, Leaf and Stem

Causal Agent:

  • Crown – Puccinia coronata;
  • Leaf – Uromyces dactylidis;
  • Stem (Black) – Puccinia graminis;
  • Stripe (Yellow) – Puccinnia striiformis

Susceptible Turfgrass:

Bentgrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, Tall Fescue, Zoysia grass.


Rust diseases cause light yellow flecks initially on the leaf blades and sheaths. The flecks enlarge, elongate, and turn yellow in colour. The infected areas rise above the epidermis and then rupture, releasing spores that are yellowish-orange to reddish-brown in colour. The leaf blade turns yellow starting at the tip and progressing to the base sheath. A severe disease infection can cause the shoot to turn yellowish to reddish-brown in colour and slow in growth. The turf may appear thin as individual shoots die.

Conditions Favouring Disease:

Rust diseases typically occur in early Spring through Autumn, depending on the location of the turf. Rusts favour moist, low-light areas. Depending on the species, rusts favour temperatures between 18°C and 30°C. Severe rust infections occur on slow-growing turfgrass, particularly those with low nitrogen levels and/or plant water stress.

South Africa Turf Disease Guide - Rusts: Crown, Leaf and Stem

Integrated Turf Management Tips:

  1. Convert to a turfgrass species or cultivar (especially for Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass) that are resistant to rust diseases found in the area
  2. Apply adequate levels of nitrogen
  3. Remove clippings from turf
  4. Reduce thatch
  5. Reduce shade and improve air circulation
  6. Regulate irrigation to minimise the amount of time moisture remains on the leaf surface.
  7. Water deeply and infrequently
  8. Use penetrant fungicides to control rust diseases on slow-growing grasses and to grasses that are not mown.

Just tap the links below to read about other turf diseases. Or download the full free guide at the bottom.

  1. Anthracnose
  2. Brown Patch 
  3. Brown Ring Patch (Waitea Patch) 
  4. Dollar Spot 
  5. Fairy Ring 
  6. Superficial Fairy Ring 
  7. Grey Leaf Spot 
  8. Large Patch 
  9. Microdochium Patch 
  10. Powdery Mildew 
  11. Pythium Blight 
  12. Pythium Root Rot (Root Dysfunction) 
  13. Red Thread 
  14. Rhizoctonia Zeae (Rhizoctonia leaf and sheath spot) 
  15. Rusts: Crown, Leaf and Stem 
  16. Spring Dead Spot 
  17. Summer Patch 
  18. Take-all Patch  and
  19. Take-all Root Rot 

If you would like to have a complete copy with all the turf diseases, you can download it on the link below.

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Download the full guide here (14.41 MB).