Dollar spot appears in the early summeras dead, straw-colored spots...the size of a silver dollar. In some cases, they join together and look like larger brown areas. It's caused by a fungal organism and is mostly a problem on lawns that have a heavy thatch layer or are watered often but for short periods of time. Dollar Spot will not kill your lawn permanently and there are ways to prevent it.
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 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.
Solution to Improper Watering: If you’re watering often and shallowly, switch to watering deeply every 3-4 days (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 up on the surface of the soil and prevents it from reaching the roots...exactly the conditions that cause the dollar spot fungus to thrive.
Solution to Heavy Thatch: Fertilizing organically is a good start, but you need to reduce thatch with Core Aeration and Liquid Aeration. Aeration helps water to penetrate into the soil and reduce thatch. Compost Topdressing in the fall will provide good biology that can both decompose thatch and fight off the disease causing fungi. Call for details on which services would be best for you.
Some grasses are very susceptible to dollar spot and other diseases.
Solution to Poor Grass: Super Seeding or Lawn Renovation in the late summer with tougher grasses will improve the appearance of your lawn and reduce lawn diseases. A Total Lawn Renovation with Super Seeding and Compost Topdressing is best.
To help protect your lawn from Dollar Spot we recommend:
- Don't water more than every 3-4 days...only in the morning or early afternoon
- Feed your lawn organically (so you don’t kill off the good soil organisms that fight disease causing fungi)
- Add resistant grasses (Super Seeding can really help)
- Minimize your thatch layer (Liquid Aeration in spring and Core Aeration in the fall)
- Topdress with compost in the fall to add beneficial biology
- Apply Neem (our natural fungicide alternative)