Dollar Spot: Grass’ Constant Enemy

OSU Ext. Dollar Spot

Dollar Spot

Amanda Folck, Sustainable Plants Systems: Turfgrass Science

Grass is constantly around us. We walk, play, lay or work everyday on this wonderful plant. Many people do not know that grass is like any type of plant grown for aesthetic purpose. Grass can get disease too! Dollar spot is an actual disease that can affect any grass area, from your favorite sports fields to possibly your own back yard. But what causes dollar spot and how to manage this disease?

According to the Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Factsheet, a fungus called Sclerotinia homoeocarpa causes dollar spot. It can affect certain grasses like creeping bentgrass, which is grown mostly in golf courses, to Kentucky bluegrass. Dollar spot occurs when the temperature is warm, 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, along with prolonged periods of wetness due to a variety of weather conditions. The name dollar spot comes from the damage the disease causes on the grass, with its yellow spots, which are circular spots with a 1-2 inch diameter (similar size to a silver dollar coin).

Here are some steps to manage the disease, according to the OSU Extension Factsheet:

  1. Buy cultivated seed that is genetically bred to not allow dollar spot.
  2. Cultural practices that include a fertilizer program with increased amount of nitrogen, can help decrease dollar spot. Other practices include not overwatering the grass and only watering the grass when the conditions are dry. The disease avoids dry areas and usually grows on very wet areas on grass.
  3. Chemical treatment can be used to help get rid of dollar spot, if treated early.

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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