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Fighting Dollar Spot Disease in Ohio

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Dollar spot grass disease has historically been the bane of golf course greenkeepers. Now, more and more Ohio homeowners are finding ugly dollar spot lesions on their lawns as this wind-borne turfgrass fungus spreads across the state. Your lawn may just have this affliction if you find tan or white-colored spots from two to four inches across peppering your grass.

Usually symptoms crop up on Ohio lawns from early summer to early fall. Since the disease is caused by a fungus (Sclerotinia homoeocarpa), a prime culprit is often wet or continuously moist lawns. Watering in the early morning while the grass is already damp can provide optimal fungal growth conditions. Add too much nitrogen fertilizer to the lawn over the course of a year, and you really increase grass vulnerability to dollar spot disease.
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Fight Back With Proper Lawn Care

First things first. If you're considering a new lawn, understand that bentgrass, bluegrass, and fine fescue have a strong vulnerability to dollar spot fungus. Kentucky bluegrass is especially prone to fungus. That said, you can still keep those turf types in fine condition with proper lawn care all season long.

Avoid over-treatment with nitrogen and give your lawn a chance to dry. Prune overhanging brush or branches to facilitate air circulation and drainage.

Keep wary of the speckle of tiny yellow on your grass blades. After the fungus works its evil, the blades grow tan or lose all color. If a spot of grass expands to straw-colored or tan circles that often reveal a grayish mold in early morning dew, you've got problems. Spot treatment with chemicals -- visit or call your local lawn care service -- can help if you catch it early.


About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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