This July, lawns across Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are at an extremely high risk of developing dollar spot disease. As summer temperatures increase and your grass faces more stressful conditions, dollar spot finds ways to sneak into your yard. So look out for the signs this month and know how to prevent dollar spot disease in the future.
What is dollar spot disease?
Dollar spot disease is a turfgrass infection caused by the fungus Clarireedia jacksonii. It affects lawns across Massachusetts and creeps into golf courses, athletic fields, and homeowners’ front yards. The disease is easy to spot because it leaves small brown patches dotted across the yard, roughly the size of a silver dollar. Dollar Spot is active from May to October, so be attentive to your lawn if signs of the disease appear this summer or fall.
Factors contributing to dollar spot disease.
Generally, the fungus is dormant in your yard’s soil until environmental factors trigger it to be active. These three elements are often to blame for the sudden appearance of dollar spot.
- Environmental conditions. Dealing with an unexpected period of drought? Hit peak annual temperatures for your area? Have low nitrogen in your soil makeup? Many environmental factors, such as dry soil and high temperatures, increase the probability of dollar spot infecting your turf.
- Certain grass types. Your grass type also affects the likelihood of being infected by dollar spot. For example, bentgrasses often used in putting greens are at extreme risk, while other common lawn types like fine fescues are slightly more resistant because they’re drought-tolerant.
- Improper lawn care. Not giving your lawn enough attention can also result in weak grass that is likely to be affected by lawn diseases. For example, grass that is mowed low, rarely fertilized, and seldom watered is far more susceptible to dollar spot disease.
Common misconceptions about dollar spot disease.
Despite its widespread occurrence, a few misconceptions are swirling around lawn owners. Not all fungal diseases should be approached the same way, so let’s clear up some common beliefs about dollar spot disease.
- It’s caused by overwatering. While many fungal diseases thrive on overwatered lawns, dollar spot is unique because it loves dry soils. So if your dehydrated grass also suffers from dollar spot, you’ll want to increase your weekly watering depth.
- It won’t come back after being treated. Unfortunately, fungal diseases are especially challenging to cure forever because dormant fungi often live in the soil. However, preventative measures are the best way to discourage it from returning.
Prevention strategies for dollar spot disease.
The best thing to remember in lawn care is that prevention is the best medicine. Taking preventative measures against dollar spot disease is cheaper and less strenuous than dealing with its end results. So consider adding these disease-prevention strategies to your regular lawn care routine.
- Cultural Practices. Many lawn ailments are encouraged by a sickly lawn, so adhering to some lawn care best practices is key to hardy, fungus-resistant turfgrass. Stick to a weekly watering schedule, adjust your mowing height, invest in fertilizing services, and don’t forget to aerate!
- Preventative / Curative fungicides. Preventative & Curative fungicides are antifungal agents designed to shield your lawn from incoming fungal diseases by preventing contact. They’re extremely beneficial in protecting your exposed grass blades, so apply them every 3-4 weeks when fungal diseases are locally active.
How to treat dollar spot disease.
So your lawn has unfortunately fallen victim to dollar spot disease. What then? Thankfully, there are two simple methods to treat the infection.
- Curative fungicide. Curative fungicides are designed to tackle fungal diseases that have already infected your turfgrass. While these fungicides aren’t as effective as other methods, this is a good option for when dollar spot disease has gotten out of control. But remember: fungicides should be used in addition to other treatments for the best results.
- Consistent lawn care. The #1 most effective treatment against fungal diseases is consistent, high-quality lawn care tailored to your grass’s needs. A weak lawn is susceptible to illnesses and pests, but a strong, healthy lawn can stave off natural threats. So always lean to a year-round lawn care routine for prevention and treatment.
Snip dollar spot in the bud with comprehensive lawn care.
Dollar spot is the nemesis of many New England lawns, but year-round lawn care is the most promising preventative method. That’s why we provide lawn care programs that cover your lawn essentials in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. The MissionGreen team delivers exceptional lawn care services that transform yards into luscious lawns. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or here to learn how our Northeast lawn care program can protect your lawn from dollar spot this season.