Daylily Rust
We've had a few calls recently asking about daylily rust and what to do about controlling or eradicating it. Unfortunately the rust appears to have spread to many places along the east coast of Australia, making it difficult to eliminate rust completely from your own daylilies. Rust spores are spread by wind and can travel huge distances so even if you were get rid of it from your own garden it wonít be long before your plants could be infected again, due to the prevailing winds.



Daylily rust thrives in the moist, mild temperatures during spring and autumn, however when it gets cold (below 15C) or very hot (above 30C) the rust gradually disappears. The good news is that it won't kill your daylilies, nor will it affect other types of plants such as gladioli, canna lilies and frangipanis. These plants are each affected by different types of rust which are unique to their individual species.

Suggestions for control

From now through summer: Remove badly affected leaves and dispose of them in a plastic bag. Spray the plants every 3 weeks, alternating with a systemic fungicide such as Triforine (rose spray) and Mancozeb.
Organic fungicides such as Eco Fungicide may be effective if you can spray both the top and undersides of the leaves: if your local nursery doesnít stock it, order it from Green Harvest at  
Iíve heard that 1 part milk to 10 parts water every fortnight can act as a fungicide, but I havenít tried it myself.
Next winter, cut all the foliage off right down to ground level and commence spraying when the temperatures rise above 20C.



Some daylily varieties are more prone to rust than others, and many seem to become quite resistant to it if grown organically. Foliar spraying with diluted seaweed & fish every 3 weeks plus applications of organic fertiliser should increase resistance to rust. I noticed a new product in our local farm supply recently: Silica & Potassium. These 2 minerals help to strengthen plant cells.

My observations
I know of gardeners who donít do much for their daylilies and they see very little sign of rust, whilst other gardeners fuss with their daylilies, over feeding them and rust is quite significant. Iíve also seen daylilies grown in the tough environment of nature strips in the centre of busy streets and yet they were hardly affected by it.
The moral of this story?  Daylily rust is nothing to panic about, in fact it's no more harmful than black spot on roses.


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