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How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

Dollar spot damage to bentgrass.


Dollar Spot

Pathogens: Sclerotinia homeocarpa, Lanzia sp. and Moellerodiscus sp.

(Reviewed 9/09, updated 9/09)

In this Guideline:


Dollar spot affects small, circular areas of turf, about 1 to 5 inches in diameter. Spots may merge to form large, irregular areas. Leaves appear water-soaked initially, then brown and often exhibit a reddish band extending across the leaf. Lesions on leaves often have a distinctive "hourglass" shape with necrosis on the outer edges of the leaf blade and healthy tissue in the middle. Fine, white, cobwebby hyphae (fungal threads) may be seen in early morning. The fungus survives as mycelia or stromata (dark, tiny, hard, resting bodies) on plants or in plant debris during periods of unfavorable weather conditions.


Bentgrass, bermudagrass, fescue, ryegrass and Kentucky annual bluegrasses can be affected, but closely mowed grasses of any of these species are most susceptible to the disease.


Dollar spot is most common during the spring and fall months in California, especially on annual bluegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and creeping bentgrass used in coastal plantings. Disease development is favored by moderate temperatures (60° to 80°F) with high relative humidity. Excessive leaf wetness and fog contribute to disease development as do water stress and excess thatch development. Dollar spot is primarily a problem on golf courses and lawn bowling greens.


Proper fertilization and irrigation as well as top dressing with compost are important in preventing the development of dollar spot. Fungicides may be necessary to provide control if the disease develops.

Cultural Control
Turfgrass deficient in nitrogen tends to develop more dollar spot than turfgrass adequately fertilized. Apply recommended amounts of nitrogen and maintain adequate air circulation. Keep thatch to a minimum. Irrigate based on evapotranspiration needs of the turfgrass to a depth of 4 to 6 inches, but avoid creating drought stress by extending the interval between irrigations too long. Raise the mowing heights as much as possible.

Avoid prolonged leaf wetness by irrigating in the morning or early afternoon rather than later in the day. Remove morning dew with a light irrigation or poling. Poling involves dragging the surface of the turf with a long bamboo or plastic pole, or with an irrigation hose, to remove the dew from the grass leaves.Some varieties of creeping bentgrass show higher levels of tolerance to this disease than others. Varieties such as Putter, Emerald, Forbes 80-12, SR-1020, Penneagale, Penncross, Century and Crenshaw are quite susceptible to dollar spot, while varieties such as L-93, A-1, Providence and Pennlinks have shown tolerance to this disease.

Adding composted top dressings has been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of dollar spot, allowing a reduction in the frequency and/or application rates of fungicides.

Treatment Decisions
Apply fungicides when environmental conditions favor the development of the disease, or when the first symptoms are detected. Apply until environmental conditions are no longer favorable for the disease.

Resistance to benzimidazole (Group 1) and DMI (Group 3) fungicides has been reported in a number of locations in the United States. Benzimidazole resistance usually manifests as a loss of acceptable control with the fungicide, while DMI resistance is seen as a need for higher application rates and shorter application intervals. Alternate the use of fungicides with different mode-of-action Group numbers to slow the development of resistance to any one given fungicide.

Common name Example trade names Ag Use
NonAg Use
(trade name)   (hours) (hours)

Calculate impact of pesticide on air quality
When choosing a fungicide, consider general properties as well as information relating to environmental impact.
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Multi-site contact (M5) 12 until dry
B. FENARIMOL Rubigan  
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Demethylation inhibitor (3) 12 until dry
  COMMENTS: Use with caution on bluegrass species.
C. IPRODIONE Chipco 26019  
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Dicarboximide (2) see label until dry
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Demethylation inhibitor (3) 24 until dry
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Demethylation inhibitor (3) 24 until dry
F. SULFUR Sulfur 6L, Sulfur DF  
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Multi-site contact (M2) 24 until dry
G. THIOPHANATE-METHYL Fungo 50, T-Methyl E-Pro  
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Methyl benzimidazole (1) 12 until dry
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Demethylation inhibitor (3) 12 until dry
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Quinone outside inhibitor (11) 12 until dry
J. VINCLOZOLIN Curalan, Touche  
  MODE OF ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Dicarboximide (2) 5 days until dry
1 Group numbers are assigned by the Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC) according to different modes of actions (for more information, see http://www.frac.info/). Fungicides with a different group number are suitable to alternate in a resistance management program. In California, make no more than one application of fungicides with mode of action Group numbers 1, 4, 9, 11, or 17 before rotating to a fungicide with a different mode of action Group number; for fungicides with other Group numbers, make no more than two consecutive applications before rotating to fungicide with a different mode of action Group number.
+ Restricted entry interval (R.E.I.) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Agricultural use applies to sod farms and commercial seed production.



[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Turfgrass
UC ANR Publication 3365-T
F. Wong, Plant Pathology, UC Riverside
M. A. Harivandi, UC Cooperative Extension, Alameda County
Acknowledgment for contributions to Diseases:
J. Hartin, UC Cooperative Extension, San Bernardino County
M. E. Grebus, Plant Pathology, UC Riverside

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