Hello, and welcome! I haven’t done a Master Gardening post in a while, but, walking my garden today I spotted rust on plants in my back gardens that wasn’t noticed before!
This is a very bad case of RUST on my Hollyhocks leaves. Don’t know how it wasn’t noticed earlier. I’m guilty of not walking my back gardens as often as my other gardens.
It’s easy to spot rust on a trowel or garden hoe. It’s that reddish-orange, flaky stuff that forms on iron and steel when they react with oxygen and moisture
Rust is also a disease that can harm your plants! It’s not just one disease; it’s actually a group of fungal diseases that attack many different kinds of plants, including—but not limited to—roses, daylilies, carnations, snapdragons, mums, tomatoes, beans, pines, spruce trees and cypress and can attack your grass too.
Early signs of rust are tiny specks or spots on leaves that range in color from orange to rusty-brown, brownish-yellow, purple and red. If not treated the spots get bigger and then turn into bumpy-looking pustules. Eventually, the pustules break open and release spores that are spread by wind or splashing water. As they land on other plants, the spores infect them, too.
Closeup of rust on hollyhock
Even though rust isn’t usually fatal, it can cause your plant to have stunted growth, dead branches and yellowing leaves that drop prematurely. Lawns take on a reddish tinge, and you may stir up orange dust when you mow or walk around.
The culprit is hot, humid weather which is when rust likes to attack. It’s easier to prevent a problem than fix one. Try these steps to discourage it from taking hold in your garden:
- Avoid overhead watering. Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation, just keep the water off the leaves.
- If you water overhead (from above) do it early in the morning so the leaves dry off by nighttime.
- Make sure when you buy new plants they are free of diseases
- Make sure you garden is not packed tight, good air circulation is a must.
Since my gardens, as most cottage gardens, are jammed pack with flowers and my Hollyhock usually succumbs.
Rust on rose leaf
How to treat if you do find rust:
- Pick or prune away infected leaves (the earlier the better) as soon as you see them. Do NOT remove too much foliage or you plant won’t be able to support themselves nutritionally.
- Disinfect tools with a mild bleach solution after pruning to avoid infestation on other plants
- Rake up and discard fallen or dead leaves, do NOT use in you compost bins
Neem oil is a natural treatment you can use too.
I hope these tips help to make you the Master Gardener of your gardens!