Does your lawn have little dollar size spots of pale or bleached grass in it?

Then it might just be, it’s suffering from a fungal infection called Dollar Spot Disease.

Dollar Spot Disease – what is it?

Dollar Spot Disease is a fungal disease which is becoming very common in some areas and can develop any time of the year, it is usually identifiable as dollar sized spots, you’ll see light tan coloured lesions or infection marks on the grass leaves which have reddish brown edges.

Another identifying feature of Dollar Spot is the web like fine threads that form through the leaves of your lawn on cooler mornings.

If left to spread the spots will get larger and spread to more areas of the lawn. This is why it’s becoming more common.

What Causes it?

Dollar Spot is caused by a fungus called Sclerotinia homeocarpa, which lives in most turfs.

During the Winter it lies dormant in the soil and thatch layer. Then when conditions are right, the fungal spores become active which encourages the disease to develop.

Dollar Spot occurs in periods of hot days with high humidity followed by cool nights. Usually in the Spring, Summer and Autumn.

Any situation that causes your lawn to stay damp for long periods of time will contribute to the development of Dollar Spot Disease.

These include;

  • Areas of shade
  • Excess lawn thatch
  • Soil Compaction
  • Also low Nitrogen levels in the lawn and cutting the grass too short during hot weather will often stress the grass which can increase the chances and the severity of an attack.

So how do you treat it?

If you catch it early you might be able to get on top of it with a fungicide available at most hardware and nursery stores

Mancozeb Plus Sulphur Fungicide from Richgro is a good option – Apply 10 litres spray per 10 square metres. Repeat each 10 days during disease susceptible periods.

or another option is

Yates 150g Mancozeb Plus Garden Fungicide And Miticide – ates Mancozeb Plus Garden Fungicide and Miticide is a multi-purpose, dual-active formulation combining the benefits of mancozeb and wettable sulphur. Both actives have a contact fungicidal action, helping to control and prevent the entry and spread of a range of common fungal diseases.

How to Prevent Dollar Spot Disease

Treating your lawn for Dollar Spot Disease is useless if you don’t fix the conditions that caused it to develop in the first place.

To prevent it from infecting your lawn, good lawn care is key.

Remember to:

Reduce Shade if possible – dollar spot occurs in damp conditions.

  • Prune trees and remove low hanging branches.
  • Prune thick bushes

Don’t mow your lawn too short

Cutting the grass too short in the heat of Summer causes stress, making the lawn more susceptible to disease and infections.

Reduce Thatch

It’ll remove the area in which the fungal spores incubate and spore, and improve drainage and help moisture to penetrate the soil where it can be consumed by the lawns roots.

Aerate Your Lawn to Reduce Soil Compaction

Compacted soil causes moisture to sit on the surface of your lawn as it will be too hard to penetrate.

Aerating your lawn will improve drainage and allow nutrients into the soil.

Fertilise your Lawn each season 

Dollar Spot Disease attacks lawns that are deficient in Nitrogen.

By fertilising your lawn in the Spring with a slow-release lawn feed, you’ll give your lawn the Nitrogen and other nutrients it needs to grow, stay healthy and fight off disease through the Summer.

Again, feed again in Summer, and also in Autumn this will provide your lawn with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy during the damper weather.