What Do I Need To Know About Snow Mold?
Snow mold is a fungal disease that develops over the winter when there is an extended period of snow cover and is fairly common in the Boston and North Shore areas. This lawn disease can affect all types of grasses from Kentucky Bluegrass to perennial ryegrass and even tall fescue. Snow mold actually refers to a group of diseases but today we’re discussing two common types of snow mold, gray and pink. For a more extensive and scientific explanation of this disease you can read more here.
What Does Snow Mold Look Like?
Unfortunately, there is no way to know if you have these diseases until the snow melts and you see the telltale circles of straw-colored grass in early spring. The grass blades in these patches can look matted down and could have a crusty appearance. A gray color to the patches will indicate gray snow mold while a whitish to pink color indicates pink snow mold. Damage is usually more severe with the pink snow mold as it can actually kill the crown and roots of the grass while gray snow mold usually only affects the leaf blades and is more of cosmetic problem.
How Do I Prevent Snow Mold?
There are several things you can do before the snow flies to help prevent this disease such as mowing your lawn low at the end of fall and clearing the lawn of any debris like leaf piles. Reduce the thatch layer by regularly aerating your lawn, at least once a season. You can also have a preventative fungicide applied in the fall. And make sure your lawn care service is using a low nitrogen fertilizer at the end of fall as excessive nitrogen can aid snow mold growth.
Once the snow starts to fall the most important thing you can do is to not let snow pile up. Snow mold develops under snow cover. When clearing snow from sidewalks and driveways, avoid creating deep snow piles in the lawn that will take a long time to melt when the weather warms. Spread the snow out if you can so that it melts evenly. Piles of snow will keep moisture trapped longer which will allow for the fungal growth to start as the soil temperatures move just above freezing.
How Do I Treat Snow Mold?
There is no fungicide available to treat snow mold in the spring but the good news is many times this disease will grow itself out.
The best way to treat gray snow mold is simply to rake up the spot so that the matted grass does not hold moisture in the soil. The quicker the ground dries, the quicker the fungus will go dormant and stop causing damage. The crown of the grass isn’t attacked so the patch should fill in on its own as the season progresses.
If you have pink snow mold, the grass may be dead as this disease can attack the crown and roots. If that is the case, vigorous raking and reseeding will likely be necessary. A light topdressing of new loam or compost will help ensure good seed-soil contact. Be sure not to apply crabgrass pre-emergent products to these areas as they will prevent grass seed from germinating as well. Be sure to let your lawn care company know as well so your technician can be watching for the seeded areas.
Get More Info From The Pros!
Looking for more information on Snow Mold and other common lawn diseases or just ready to let the professionals take over your lawn care needs from here? The Grassmaster Plus team is ready and willing to answer any questions you have and can provide you a free quote on your lawn care services for the season. Contact our local office today!