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Dollar Spot Fungus: How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent It

Posted on March 3, 2023 by Lawn Doctor

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Dollar spot fungus is a common lawn disease that can cause serious damage to your grass if left untreated. To ensure lawns remain healthy, homeowners should be aware of the signs and symptoms of dollar spot fungus, so they can take action to treat and prevent it. In this blog post, we’ll discuss identifying dollar spot fungus, how to treat it once you’ve identified it, prevention methods for avoiding an outbreak in the first place, as well as tips on maintaining a healthy lawn overall.

Identifying Dollar Spot Fungus

Dollar spot is a fungal disease caused by the pathogen Sclerotinia homoeocarpa, which affects turfgrass. It is most commonly seen in creeping bentgrass, perennial ryegrass, kentucky bluegrass, and zoysia grass but can also affect other types of grasses. The symptoms of dollar spots are small brown patches that may be slightly sunken with reddish-brown margins. As the lesions expand, they become circular or coin-shaped and up to 12 inches in diameter, hence the name “dollar spot”.

To keep dollar spot from rearing its ugly head, it’s important to maintain a healthy lawn. This includes ensuring adequate fertilization and irrigation and proper mowing heights for the type of grass used on your property. If an outbreak occurs, consult your local Lawn Doctorlawn care specialist to determine which fungicide would be most effective in tackling the particular species of fungus causing the issue (e.g., Clarireedia jacksonii or Rhizoctonia solani). With some extra TLC, you can make sure your turf remains in tip-top shape.

By being aware of the signs and symptoms of dollar spot fungus, homeowners can take proactive steps to prevent it from taking hold in their lawns. Treating dollar spot fungus requires an understanding of its life cycle and how best to disrupt that cycle before it causes damage.

Treating Dollar Spot Fungus

Dollar spot fungus affects many grass species, including creeping bentgrass, perennial ryegrass, kentucky bluegrass, and zoysia grass, resulting in small patches of discolored turf that may expand to larger areas if left untreated. Symptoms include small reddish-brown spots with slightly sunken centers and pale yellow margins that can spread rapidly throughout your lawn.

To prevent dollar spot outbreaks, it’s important to remove dew from the grass each morning or use an irrigation system set on a timer so that moisture isn’t present for extended periods. Additionally, fungicide applications should be considered as soon as symptoms appear in order to protect healthy plants from becoming infected by the disease. DMI fungicides are often used since they help control dollar spot pathogens while allowing beneficial fungi like Clarireedia jacksonii (which helps break down organic matter) to remain active in the soil.

If you already have an outbreak of dollar spot on your property, several treatments are available depending on the severity of the infection and the type of turfgrass affected. In general, chemical controls such as dithiocarbamate or benzimidazole fungicides will effectively control most infections within two weeks after application; however, repeat applications may be necessary if lesions continue to expand despite treatment efforts. Cultural practices such as mowing at higher heights and removing excess debris can also help reduce the risk of further infection by providing less hospitable conditions for Sclerotinia homoeocarpa growth and reproduction—in other words: keep your lawn clean.

Treating dollar spot fungus requires an integrated approach to both chemical and cultural control practices. Moving on, preventive measures can be taken to reduce the risk of dollar spot fungi from occurring in lawns.

Preventing Dollar Spot Fungus

It can be identified by small, circular patches of dead grass that range from silver dollar size to as large as six inches in diameter with reddish-brown margins and slightly sunken centers. Dollar spots are commonly found on creeping bentgrass, zoysia grass, and other warm-season turfgrasses.

To effectively control existing outbreaks and prevent future ones, it is important to consider all factors involved, such as climate, soil type, and turfgrass species, before applying fungicides. Taking a proactive approach by keeping your lawn healthy through proper maintenance practices like mowing at the right height for your grass type and providing adequate irrigation during dry spells can help stave off dollar spot fungus. Additionally, getting rid of morning dew from the leaves each day will reduce the chances of infection.

Accurately identifying any lesions is key to the successful prevention and treatment of dollar spot outbreaks, as there are several fungi within the sclerotinia genus (e.g., Clarireedia jacksonii) which may cause similar symptoms on infected plants. Additionally, Rhizoctonia solani can also create small patches of discolored turfgrass. Still, these will tend to expand over time, whereas those created by sclerotial pathogens remain relatively stable in size once established. 

By following the right lawn care practices, you can help to prevent dollar spot fungus from taking over your lawn. To ensure the continued health of your lawn, proper care is essential to avoid dollar spot fungus infestation.

Maintaining a Healthy Lawn

Maintaining a healthy lawn is essential for preventing dollar spot fungus. Dollar spot fungus, or Sclerotinia homoeocarpa, is a common fungal disease of turfgrass that causes discolored spots on the grass blades. The best way to prevent this damage is by maintaining a healthy lawn through proper mowing, watering, and fertilizing practices.

Mowing your lawn the correct height helps keep it healthy and free from dollar spot fungus. It’s important to mow at the recommended height for your specific type of grass; too low can cause scalping, weakening the turfgrass and making it more susceptible to diseases like dollar spot. Mow regularly but don’t cut off more than one-third of the leaf blade in any single mowing session – this will help keep stress levels down on your lawn and reduce its vulnerability to disease.

Watering your lawn correctly also plays an important role in preventing dollar spot fungus from taking hold. Too much water can create an ideal environment for fungi, while too little water may make it difficult for roots to absorb nutrients needed for strong growth. Both scenarios increase susceptibility to diseases such as dollar spot. To avoid these problems, aim for about 1 inch of water per week during dry periods and adjust accordingly if there has been significant rainfall recently.

Using quality fertilizers that contain slow-release nitrogen sources is key to avoiding potential outbreaks of diseases like dollar spots. Utilizing these products judiciously, and applying them with proper techniques, such as not directly onto wet foliage, will help keep your turfgrass areas healthy and free from the blight of dollar spot fungus. In addition, making sure you are providing adequate but not excessive water to your lawn during dry periods can go a long way in preventing this fungal disease from taking hold.

By following these simple steps, homeowners can help ensure their lawn stays healthy and free from pesky pests like dollar spot fungus. Proper maintenance practices not only protect against disease but also give you peace of mind knowing that you are doing everything possible to maintain beautiful green grass year-round.


What is the best fungicide for dollar spot?

The best fungicide for dollar spot is chlorothalonil. Chlorothalonil has been demonstrated to be highly effective in controlling and preventing the spread of dollar spots. Chlorothalonil forms a protective layer on grass blades that helps protect them against infection. It can also help prevent future outbreaks of dollar spots when applied regularly as part of an overall lawn care program. Chlorothalonil is also a cost-effective solution, making it an ideal choice for homeowners looking to keep their lawns healthy and free of dollar spots.

Will my lawn recover from dollar spots?

Yes, your lawn can recover from dollar spots. To ensure a successful recovery, it is important to identify and address the cause of dollar spots. Once the source of the issue has been identified, corrective measures should be taken to mitigate it. This could include improving drainage or adjusting irrigation practices if too much water has been applied. Once these issues have been addressed, you should apply a fungicide that targets dollar spot disease specifically for your lawn to recover from this condition fully. Finally, regular mowing and fertilization will help to strengthen the grass and prevent future outbreaks. With proper care, your lawn can recover from dollar spots.

Will dollar spot fungus go away on its own?

No, dollar spot fungus will not go away on its own. Without treatment, the disease can spread quickly and damage your lawn’s appearance. To prevent further damage to your grass, it is important to take proactive steps such as applying a fungicide or other recommended treatments from a professional lawn care provider. Regular mowing and watering practices also help reduce the risk of fungal growth in turfgrass areas.

Is dollar spot fungus harmful?

Yes, dollar spot fungus is harmful. It can cause damage to grass blades and stems by creating small patches of dead or discolored turf. The fungi spread quickly in warm, humid conditions and are difficult to control without proper treatment. Without intervention, the affected area will continue to expand until it becomes an eyesore on your lawn. Treating dollar spot with fungicides as soon as possible is key for preventing the further spread of this damaging disease.

By monitoring your lawn for signs of infection, applying fungicides when necessary, maintaining healthy grass through regular watering and mowing practices, and avoiding excessive nitrogen fertilizer use, you can protect your turf from dollar spot fungus damage. Taking the time to understand how this fungal disease works will help ensure a beautiful and healthy lawn all season long.

Take the proactive approach to lawn care and protect your grass from dollar spot fungus with Lawn Doctor‘s advanced solutions. Our team of experts can help you develop a tailored plan for optimal results.

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