Dollar spot, a lawn disease that affects a wide range of turfgrasses throughout most of the year, is a particularly insidious lawn fungus that can make your beloved turf look like an unsightly patchwork. Here's what you need to know about dollar spot, and how a TruGreen® PhD-certified specialist can help you regain a lawn you'll love.
We’ve got good and bad news. The good news is that dollar spot, a lawn disease that affects most turfgrasses, is easy to identify. The bad news (if you’ve identified it in your yard) is it’s easier to prevent than fight the disease.
We’ve got what you need to know about dollar spot, including preventative tips and information on how a TruGreen® PhD-certified specialist can help you regain a lawn you’ll love (if you’ve been invaded by the disease).
What is dollar spot?
Dollar spot is a lawn fungus named for the light tan, roughly circular patches it creates on your lawn. In the early stages, each spot can be about the size of a silver dollar.
As this lawn disease progresses, the patches can bleed into each other to form large, irregular discolored spots, several feet in diameter. Each affected leaf blade will show a distinct pattern of straw-colored, tan bands across the blade, often with reddish-brown margins above and below each band.
The lawn fungus responsible for the disease attacks leaf blades, not roots or soils. It’s a widespread problem that affects a variety of turfgrasses, so prevention is key.
How does this fungus thrive?
Dollar spot thrives in conditions of dry soils and moist air. When the roots are low on water and the leaves of your grass are wet from dew, rain, or irrigation, outbreaks of this lawn disease increase.
This fungus is at its worst in seasons marked by high humidity, low rainfall, and temperatures between 60 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, the fungus spreads via mycelium on infected plant parts (mostly clippings). Mycelium can also be carried by the wind, water, or on turf equipment and shoes.
What can I do to prevent dollar spot?
Preventing dollar spot outbreaks can be much more effective than fighting the disease once it appears in your yard. For effective lawn disease control of dollar spot:
- Water deeply, but infrequently. During times when the climate conditions promote the growth of dollar spot, be sure to water intermittently, but leave the sprinkler on for at least a couple of hours to simulate a deep, drenching rainfall. If you wake to heavy dew in the morning, drag the turf with a water hose to remove the precipitation.
- Mow properly. Successful mowing practices that stimulate healthy growth vary based on your type of turf and whether you’ve overseeded with more than one grass type. Talk with your TruGreen certified specialist about the proper mowing schedule for your unique yard to be sure your mowing routine is helping—and not hurting—your lawn.
- Aerate your lawn. Since dollar spot often occurs on thatched, drought-stressed lawns, lawn aeration can be an effective way to control thatch and improve moisture penetration in your lawn.
- Fertilize in late spring. Applying nitrogen-fertilizer in the late spring can help to minimize the severity of this disease, since growth will be stimulated during early summer when dollar spot infection often begins.
If your lawn does develop dollar spot, there are products that can be applied to minimize the spread of this patchy brown lawn disease. However, in most cases, adequate fertilization (without over-fertilization) can help your grass outgrow dollar spot. A TruGreen expert can help you decide how to tackle the problem so your turf recovers to be the lawn you love once again.
To protect against or identify dollar spot lawn disease, call 866.688.6722. You can also browse our website at TruGreen.com to find out how to protect your yard year-round with industry-leading lawn disease control.