Tips for Identifying & Treating Dollar Spot in Your Yard

Even healthy lawns can fall prey to pests and diseases. These problems can cause unattractive patches that detract from your yard’s beauty. Dollar spot is a common lawn disease that can be behind these unsightly patches. Use this guide to identify and treat dollar spot in your yard so you can tackle this issue right away and get your lawn back to looking vibrant and pristine.

What Is Dollar Spot, and How Does It Affect Your Yard?

Dollar spot is a fungal disease caused by the pathogen Clarireedia jacksonii, which thrives in environments with high humidity and moderate temperatures. The disease gets its name from the small, silver-dollar-sized patches of straw-colored grass it creates. Left untreated, these patches can merge, forming larger, more noticeable blotches that detract from your lawn’s overall aesthetics.

This fungal disease affects a wide range of grass types, including bentgrass, bluegrass, and bermuda grass. Dollar spot mainly targets the blades of the grass, leaving the roots relatively unaffected. This means that although the disease can cause severe damage to the foliage, the grass may recover with prompt treatment.

Tips for Identifying & Treating Dollar Spot in Your Yard<br />

Tips for Identifying Dollar Spot

Before you can treat dollar spot, you first need to identify it accurately. Here are some tried-and-true tips for identifying dollar spot in your yard.

Look for Small Circular Patches

The primary sign of dollar spot is the presence of small, round patches of brown or straw-colored grass. These patches generally measure 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Take a close look at your lawn and see if you can spot these telltale circular patches.

Check the Color and Texture

Apart from their shape, dollar spot patches have a distinctive color and texture. The affected grass will appear bleached or straw-like and may have a “frayed” or “scorched” texture. Healthy grass, in contrast, will retain its vibrant green color and smooth texture.

Inspect Early Morning Dew

Dollar spot thrives in humid conditions, such as during early morning hours when dew is present on the grass. To catch the disease in its earliest stages, inspect your lawn in the morning. Look for small, white, cobweb-like fungal growth on the grass blades. This is a clear indicator that dollar spot is present.


Monitor Grass Health

Observing your grass’s overall health can also help identify dollar spot. Grass affected by the disease might grow more slowly and appear less vigorous. If you notice a general decline in your lawn’s health, it’s worth investigating further to determine if dollar spot is the cause.
Tips for Identifying & Treating Dollar Spot in Your Yard

Tips for Treating Dollar Spot

Once you’ve identified dollar spot in your yard, act quickly to prevent the disease from spreading. Here are some effective tips for treating dollar spot in your yard.

Maintain Proper Lawn Care Practices

One of the best ways to prevent and treat dollar spot is by maintaining a healthy lawn. Regularly mowing, fertilizing, and watering your lawn can make it less susceptible to fungal diseases. Ensure that your lawn care practices are consistent and that you’re providing your grass with the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Water Deeply and Infrequently

Overwatering or watering too frequently can create conditions that encourage the growth of dollar spot fungus. Water your yard deeply and infrequently to promote the growth of healthy grass while warding off dollar spot. Aim for about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, either from rainfall or irrigation. Additionally, avoid watering in the evening, as this can create a damp environment that promotes fungal growth.

Improve Soil Aeration

Compacted soil can hinder proper drainage and air circulation, creating an ideal environment for dollar spot to thrive. To alleviate soil compaction, aerate your lawn at least once a year. This process involves removing small plugs of soil to improve airflow, water penetration, and nutrient absorption.

Mow at the Right Height

Mowing your grass at the appropriate height can help prevent and control dollar spot. Each type of grass has an optimal mowing height, so be sure to look into the specific needs of your grass variety. In general, avoid cutting more than one-third of the grass blade length at a time, as this can stress the grass and make it more susceptible to disease.

Apply Fungicide

If dollar spot persists despite your best efforts, you may need to apply a fungicide. Look for a product specifically designed to combat dollar spot and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. Fungicides are most effective when used as part of an integrated lawn care system that includes proper mowing, watering, and fertilization practices.

Remove Thatch Build-up

When organic matter and dead grass accumulates on your lawn it creates a layer of thatch between the soil and the living grass blades. Excessive thatch can create a breeding ground for fungal diseases like dollar spot. Dethatch your lawn regularly to remove this build-up and improve air circulation and water penetration.

Monitor and Adjust pH Levels

The pH level of your soil can impact the health of your lawn and its susceptibility to disease. Dollar spot thrives in slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 6.0-7.0), so test your soil’s pH regularly and make adjustments as needed. Lime can be added to raise the pH, while sulfur can be used to lower it.

Keep Your Lawn Clean

Keeping your lawn free of debris, fallen leaves, and grass clippings can help reduce the risk of fungal diseases. These materials can trap moisture and provide a breeding ground for dollar spot. Regularly rake and remove debris to keep your lawn clean and healthy.

Consider Professional Services

If you’re struggling to manage dollar spot in your own, consider enlisting the help of a professional lawn care service provider. They can offer expert advice and treatments tailored to your specific lawn care needs. Many companies, like TurfPride, offer comprehensive lawn care programs that include regular maintenance and disease prevention measures.

Maintaining a healthy and pristine lawn requires constant attention and care, especially when dealing with diseases like dollar spot. By following the recommended tips for identifying and treating dollar spot in your yard, you can effectively combat this common fungal problem. Remember to consider professional lawn care services offered by TurfPride to help maintain a beautiful, healthy-looking lawn. Take action today, and your yard will thank you with green, thriving blades of grass.