Dollar spot is not a picky parasite; this lawn disease infects and kills a lot of different grasses. True to its name, dollar spot develops small, distinct circles from 1 to 6'' across, about the size of a silver dollar or a small pancake. Because these spots don't look very serious individually, it’s easy to underestimate the damage potential. But because dollar spot lawn disease kills the turf clear to the roots, serious scarring of the lawn can occur.
This fungus survives the winter as dormant mycelium (or fungal growth) in plant parts in the thatch and soil. When temperatures get into the 60s, the lawn disease starts growing again. The peak of disease activity occurs when temperatures are between 70 to 90 degrees. Other factors that trigger development of dollar spot lawn disease include low soil moisture when the humidity is high; low nitrogen fertility; too much thatch on the lawn; and mowing too short during hot weather. Lawns not on a quality program that provides the correct blend of fertilizers, or that don't get properly watered or mowed are most likely to catch a case of dollar spot.
There are two easy ways to identify dollar spot lawn disease on turf. The first is the shape and size of the damaged areas. The individual spots are usually very circular and distinct, and grow to only a few inches in diameter. Another symptom that's easy to recognize are the lesions (or infection marks) on the individual grass blades. Dollar spot lawn disease causes an hour-glass shaped band to form across the width of the grass blade. This band is light tan and has a reddish-brown edge on the top and bottom. Being a very thorough fungus, dollar spot kills the entire grass plant. After a serious bout with dollar spot, lawn renovation or reseeding will almost always be required once the disease is brought under control.
Remember your first grade reader? See Spot run. Run Spot, run. You can help make dollar spot run from your lawn. Watering right is your department. Spring-Green can take care of the rest. Since grass diseases such as dollar spot favor turf with low soil moisture, it's important to saturate the soil regularly. But, because one of the ways this lawn disease moves is by water droplets splashing, it’s best to avoid frequent late afternoon or evening watering. Always allow the grass to dry out before evening. Low nitrogen fertility (which pushes disease growth) should also be corrected with the correct combinations of fertilizers during periods of disease activity. The very best prevention for dollar spot (as well as almost all types of lawn diseases) is the Spring-Green program and regular, deep watering.
Treatments with a fungicide can be effective, so if you suspect this disease is what's making you see spots, contact your neighborhood Spring Green right away.
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