Dollar Spot Disease

Caused by a Fungal Organism, Grass Develops Dead, Straw-Colored Spots

What Is Dollar Spot?

Dollar Spot appears in the early Summer as dead, straw-colored spots, the size of a silver dollar. In some cases, these spots join together and look like larger brown areas. Dollar Spot Disease is caused by a fungal organism and is mostly a problem on lawns that have a heavy thatch layer, or get watered often for short periods of time. Dollar Spot will not kill your lawn permanently and there are ways to prevent it.

Why Do You Have Dollar Spot?

A little bit of Dollar Spot during the Summer is normal and nothing to worry about. If you have a severe case, here are some issues that will make dollar spot worse:

Dollar Spot Disease occurs when the surface of the lawn stays wet and the soil is dry. Watering too often and too lightly will result in a lot of Dollar Spot. Our suggested solution is to switch to watering deeply every 3-4 days, roughly one inch of water per session.

A thick thatch layer is the perfect breeding ground for Dollar Spot fungi. In addition to providing a good home for the fungus, a heavy thatch layer keeps water on the surface of the soil and prevents it from reaching the roots. These are exactly the conditions that cause the Dollar Spot fungi to thrive. As a good start, we recommend fertilizing organically. Ultimately however, you need to reduce thatch. Core Aeration and Liquid Aeration help water to penetrate the soil and lessen the amount of thatch you have. You can also try Organic Compost Topdressing in the Fall, which will provide good biology that can both decompose thatch and fight off the fungi that cause Dollar Spot Disease to form. Contact us for details on which services would be best for you.

Some grasses are very susceptible to Dollar Spot and other diseases. In these cases, introducing tougher grass varieties in the late Summer with either Slice Seeding or Lawn Renovation, will improve the appearance of your lawn and reduce lawn diseases. Organic Compost Topdressing is also an excellent addition to each of these services, to ensure improvement of your issues.

What Can You Do About Dollar Spot?

To help protect your lawn from Dollar Spot, we have a few recommends.

  1. Water only every 3-4 days, in the morning or early afternoon.
  2. Feed your lawn organically, to avoid killing soil organisms that fight disease-causing fungi.
  3. Add resistant grasses through services such as Slice Seeding and Lawn Renovation.
  4. Minimize your thatch layer. Electing our Liquid Aeration service in the Spring and Core Aeration service in the Fall, will greatly help you achieve this. 
  5. Try our Organic Compost Topdressing service in the Fall, which will add beneficial biology and keep your grass healthier and better able to defend itself against diseases. 
  6. Apply Neem Oil, our natural fungicide alternative, to the diseased spots.

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