Dollar Spot: A Fungus That May Affect Your Lawn

The first sign that there is a problem with your lawn is often a change in appearance.  Instead of the healthy, lush green carpet you expect, diseased grass will often be different in color or density.  One such difference that you may notice in your lawn is the discoloration caused by dollar spot.  You may have never heard of dollar spot, but it can cause pervasive damage to your lawn if it is not stopped.

What Is Dollar Spot?

Dollar spot is a disease caused by a fungus that affects bentgrass, bluegrass, fine-leaf fescues, perennial ryegrass, and zoysiagrass.  It shows up first with small yellowish green blotches, which may escape your attention.  As the disease progresses, it causes blades to become a tan color, affecting patches of grass about the size of a silver dollar.  If left unchecked, the disease will spread and patches will become larger.  Eventually, the entire yard may be damaged by the fungi.

What Causes Dollar Spot?

Much like we might catch a cold, grass can become infected when exposed to micro-organisms as well.  Activation of fungi spores cause dollar spot to develop.  The spores of this fungus may be present in your soil and spread by natural means.  They may also be spread through contaminated mowers, sprinklers, or other maintenance equipment.  The disease is exacerbated by wet turf, high humidity, and weather that is warm during the day and cool at night.

Can Dollar Spot Be Prevented?

Though soil may contain dollar spot fungus spores, this does not necessarily mean that dollar spot will develop.  The right conditions must be present.  Some of these conditions are out of your control.  For example, high humidity can promote the growth of the fungus.  But you do have some control over other factors, such as your watering and mowing habits.  Lawns should be watered deeply and infrequently and should always be watered early enough in the day to allow grass to dry out before nightfall.  It is also important to keep your lawn free of thick layers of grass clippings by mowing regularly.  Cut grass that is left on your lawn can give fungi a perfect environment in which to grow.

What If I Have Dollar Spot?

If you find that your lawn is infected with dollar spot, you can rest in the knowledge that it is fairly easy to treat.  For mild cases, treatment with nitrogen fertilizer may stop the spread of the fungus.  In more severe cases, a fungicide may need to be applied.  When your lawn experiences problems, including dollar spot, the professionals at Ping’s can help.  We can evaluate your lawn, identify the problem, and implement the solution.  We offer full-service lawn care as well as treatments for specific lawn problems.  Visit our website for more information or give us a call at 317-298-8482 for a free quote.