Seeing an orange color on your shoes?

Seeing an orange color on your shoes? It's spores from a fungal infection of the winter rye grass.

Last years winter rye lawn was problematic - the contractor used a low cost, tall-growing seed and did not fully service it.

Texas AM has created dwarf varieties of rye grass that are slower growing and don't grow tall. These lawns can be managed with bimonthly mowing and will look good on a daily basis.

Last year,  however,  an inexpensive tall growing seed was planted and that requires weekly service. With bimonthly service, the tall seed is always looked like it needed a cut. Mowing it with a very heavy 50 inch mower the crushed the grass and created tracks. This was exacerbated by a heavy watering.

The orange color on your shoes is caused by spores from a fungal infection of the winter rye grass commonly known as crown rust (Puccinia coronata). This is common is tall wet ryegrass. There is infestation at the southwest dog walking area. The fungus is not harmful to humans and will be gone (die off) when ryegrass goes into dormancy - typically when the air temperatures exceed 90 degrees for two weeks or so.

The orange color on shoes (and dogs) is caused by spores. Attaching to animals is how they spread to other areas of the lawn.

They "orange" will vacuum off if collected from dry grass - it will need to be washed off if collected from wet grass.


  1. Last year my next door neighbor and I both went through the orange powder ( fungus/rust/grass mold) from the grass getting all over our dogs, shoes, etc. He had to take his dog to the Vet due to it making her ill. He also spoke to the HOA about it not being put on the lawn again this year. Well it is back and he is very concerned and I told him I was concerned if it was a danger to the dogs and I will email the HOA for him and both of us.

    Can you advise me of the correct name of what it is they treated our lawn with? I would like to research it and/or speak to my Vet to see if it is toxic to dogs and if it can make them ill.

    Also, can neutralize the back and sides to make it go away? Thank you!

    1. The lawn "rust" is an annoyance for sure. It will be gone when the air temperatures reaches above 90ºF for a week or so. Last year, the rust appeared in April. Efforts were made to avoid it such as changing to the grass type, lowering mowing heights, and additional fertilization. This was effective in reducing and delaying the fungus - but it is now with us and will be with us for the next 2-3 weeks. The only thing to do is avoid infested areas.

      Please let us know what your vet says.

      Question: Can you advise me of the correct name of what it is they treated our lawn with?
      Answer: The grass has a fungal infection; Crown rust (Puccinia coronata). It is the result of the continuous rains and humidity. It goes away when the temperatures reach above 90º.

      Question: Can they neutralize the back and side [lawn] to make it go away?
      Answer: The orange color is coming from spores. TruGreen/ChemLawn advises that fungicides are of limited use to eliminate them.

      Question: Is it a danger to the dogs?
      Answer: According to Oklahoma State University, these fungal spores easily get on shoes, mowers, and pets but are not harmful to humans or animals. Only in severe incidences (which is not the case at LBT) are they harmful to the lawn.


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