Dollar Spot

The causal agent for Dollar Spot is Sclerotinia homoeocarpa and all turf grass species can be affected.

Problem Overview

The causal agent for Dollar Spot is Sclerotinia homoeocarpa and all turf grass species can be affected. The favourable conditions for this disease which is a common occurrence in the top half of the North Island are when the plant leaves are wet for extended periods of time particularly from mid-spring until autumn. The symptoms are numerous small bleached spots which may coalesce to form large irregular patches. These spots may vary is size from the size of a 50c coin up to 50mm. Recovery is usually rapid as the roots are not affected.

The disease affects most turf grass species but turf containing bent grasses like NZ Browntop and  creeping fescues are most susceptible whereas Tall fescue appears to be resistant.  Conditions such as drought, thick thatch build up and  low fertility favour the establishment of Dollar Spot. The fungus also favours heavy compacted soils with high pH.

Solutions

In the first instance apply a nitrogenous fertilizer such as Finelawn Gold at 35gms/m2 or 3.5kgs per 100m2.

Do not apply lime as high pH encourages this condition.

Mechanical treatments to improve drainage will be very useful.  

In many instances dethatching is also a useful tool as it removes organic material which can be an impediment to drainage.

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