Small, round circles of dead and browned out grass can be a frustrating lawn issue. If the spots are rarely larger than a couple of inches in size, then chances are you are dealing with a lawn fungus that goes by the common name of dollar spot. Dollar spot disease won't usually kill off an entire lawn, but it can make the grass unsightly. Fortunately, proper lawn care can solve the issue and eradicate the fungus.
1. Lawn Moisture
Watering too frequently or at the wrong time increases the chances of fungal growth. Dollar spot needs moist grass in order to thrive. Reduce the frequency of watering so that the grass blades and the soil surface dries slightly between watering. It may also help to water first thing in the morning so that excess moisture doesn't sit on the lawn surface for long.
2. Mower Blade Height
Mowing the lawn too short also creates a good habitat for dollar spot fungus. Short grass is more exposed to fungal spores, plus the grass itself is weaker because it has a smaller leaf surface for absorbing nutrients. Plan to mow the lawn no shorter than a 3 inch height. This is long enough to ensure grass health without looking overgrown or unkempt. Further, keep the mower blade properly sharpened so that the grass isn't damaged when it is cut.
3. Reduced Air Circulation
Air circulate around the base of the grass and into the soil is vital for a healthy lawn. When air circulates poorly, fungus like dollar spot can thrive. The thatch layer on top of the soil is a common cause of poor air circulation. If the thatch, which is made up of dead grass and other debris, is deeper than 1/4 inch, you need to have your lawn service perform a dethatching.
4. Poor Nutrition
Fungal diseases tends to attack lawns that have poor soil nutrition. In the case of dollar spot, low nitrogen can lead to an increased chance of infection. Have your soil tested for any nutrient deficiencies at least once a year. Then, apply the proper type and formula of fertilizer to address the specific needs of your lawn.
5. Low Areas
Since dollar spot only tends to occur in wet lawns, low spots are prime targets for the disease. Fill in low areas that tend to stay boggy, and then reseed as needed. You may also need to aerate low areas more often in order to ensure proper drainage.
Contact a lawn care service for more help with managing dollar spot and your basic yard care.