Wouldn’t it be nice to walk around your lawn and pick up dollar bills off the ground? Unfortunately, that isn’t what dollar spot is. Dollar spot is a lawn disease that can actually go dormant over the winter, but cause some serious damage to your lawn once summer begins. This week, we will focus on how to spot dollar spot, where it is most likely found, and how to protect yourself from this dangerous lawn disease this summer.
What is Dollar Spot?
The fungus, Sclerotinia homoeocarpa, is responsible for dollar spot. This disease, like most others, starts small, so it can go unnoticed until it grows into its characteristic circular pattern.
Common symptoms include:
- Small, yellow spots on individual grass blades
- A tan, straw-colored, band with dark edges that starts to spread across the individual grass blades
- The band grows and give the grass blade an hour glass look
- Finally, the grass blade will turn completely white and the disease will continue to spread throughout your yard
What areas do they prefer?
This fungus usually infects bluegrass lawns in the Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio areas. It is most likely to show up anytime between late spring and late fall, growing after a stretch of cool, moist weather. Dollar spot flourishes in 60-85 degree Fahrenheit daytime temperatures. According to the Ohio State University Extension, “prolonged wet foliage is a key factor” to a dollar spot problem on your lawn. So, this disease thrives in the rainy Ohio summer weather.
How can I protect myself from this weed?
Like all grass diseases, it is easier to prevent a disease than try to control it once it starts. Try to consider growing a cool-season grass that is resistant to dollar spot, like perennial ryegrass or tall fescue. Also, properly feed your lawn by watching how much fertilizer you use, as too much fertilizer can cause other fungal diseases to grow and too little will not do anything for your lawn.
If you catch the disease at its earliest stage, you can use fungicides to control or stop dollar spot. However, it is too late to stop dollar spot once it starts damaging your lawn in its characteristic circular patterns.
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