Dollar Spot

Pathogen – Clarireedia spp. (fungus)

Hosts – all turfgrasses


Dollar spot is a fungal disease of most cool and warm-season turfgrasses. On turf mowed at heights greater than 0.5”, the spots may expand in size up to 6” or more in diameter. The affected leaves typically remain upright and are characterized by having white or light-tan lesions with light reddish-brown margins. As the lesions expand, the leaves are girdled and the upper part of the leaves dies slowly. The grass in the spots may be killed to the soil surface if the disease continues to develop, and many spots may merge to produce large blighted areas. Short, fuzzy white mycelium is often observed on affected turf in the morning when dew is present.

The dollar spot fungus begins to grow and infect susceptible grasses in the spring when night temperatures exceed 50°F (10°C), even though symptoms of the disease may not appear until later in the spring or early summer. In addition, the pathogen requires extended (10 to 12 continuous hours) periods of leaf wetness. Heavy dews that often form during cool nights in the late spring or early summer are most conducive to the disease. Extended periods of wet, overcast weather can also lead to severe dollar spot epidemics on susceptible grasses. Dollar spot remains active throughout the summer in many areas, but disease activity typically slows when high temperatures consistently exceed 90°F (32°C). Turfgrasses that are deficient in nutrients, especially nitrogen, are more prone to dollar spot and also recover from the damage more slowly than well-fertilized turf. The disease is also encouraged by drought stress, low mowing, excessive thatch accumulation, frequent irrigation, and low air movement. Certain cultivars of creeping bentgrass, perennial ryegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass are very susceptible to dollar spot, while others are fairly tolerant.

Cultural Control

Use of resistant cultivars is one of the most effective means of dollar spot management. This is particularly important for creeping bentgrass, perennial ryegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass, as cultivars vary widely in their susceptibility to the disease. Base turfgrass selection on university recommendations or regional cultivar trials operated by the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program or local universities. When planting cool-season grasses, use blends and mixtures of multiple species and varieties whenever possible. Adequate nitrogen fertilization will help to prevent dollar spot, and will also encourage plants to recover quickly from the disease if it occurs. Select nitrogen sources, rates, and timings based on local university recommendations for your turfgrass species and climate. More or less nitrogen may be required for your location depending on soil type, rainfall amounts, traffic intensity, and other management practices. Deficiencies in other nutrients that limit foliar growth may also exacerbate dollar spot problems. Use soil test results to apply the recommended amounts of phosphorus, potassium, lime, and micronutrients. Dollar spot is encouraged by drought stress and leaf wetness. Proper irrigation

timing is needed to balance these factors. Irrigate based on the moisture status of the soil, not on a calendar schedule. When irrigation is necessary, it should be applied early in the morning, between midnight and 6 AM, to keep leaf wetness periods as short as possible. Mowing, dragging, or whipping the turf in the morning to remove dew can help to prevent dollar spot, but these practices can spread the disease if it is actively developing. Improve air movement and reduce humidity by pruning trees, clearing unwanted vegetation, or relocating desirable plants. Excessive thatch accumulations greatly encourage dollar spot activity. Remove excess thatch by vertical mowing or power raking. Dollar spot is readily spread in leaf tissue or clippings from infected areas. Avoid spreading the disease by washing equipment before entering an uninfected area, and by removing and disposing of clippings taken from infected areas.

Chemical Control
Many fungicides control dollar spot, but preventative applications are most effective. A preventative program should be implemented in the early spring when night temperatures consistently exceed 50°F. When applied on a curative basis, fungicides must be applied at high rates and short application intervals.

Uniform spray coverage is important for maximizing fungicide performance; even small gaps in coverage may allow dollar spot to develop. Nozzle type, nozzle pressure, and dilution rate have the greatest impact on the uniformity of fungicide applications. Nozzles that produce coarse to extremely coarse droplets dramatically reduce the performance of fungicides for dollar spot control. Air-induction or flat fan nozzles that produce fine to medium droplets are recommended. In order to provide thorough coverage of the turfgrass foliage, fungicides should be applied in 2 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet; lower carrier volumes reduce the performance of fungicides for foliar disease control.

The fungus that causes dollar spot develops resistance to fungicides very quickly. To prevent or delay the onset of fungicide resistance, use integrated management to minimize fungicide use and rotate among fungicide classes after each application.

Fungicides are often available in different formulations. Most of the time they are formulated to be applied through a sprayer, however there are some granular versions available that are applied through a rotary spreader. When in doubt, you can hire a landscape professional to make these applications because they are licensed and trained on how to best apply these products.

Fungicide Active Ingredient

Application Interval (Days)

azoxystrobin + propiconazole

7 to 28

fluopyram + trifloxystrobin

7 to 28


14 to 28




14 to 21


14 to 21


14 to 21


7 to 28

pyraclostrobin + fluxapyroxad

14 to 28


14 to 30

trifloxystrobin + triadimefon

14 to 28


14 to 28

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