Your lawn deserves as much protection it can get from every disease that will deface it, or turn its bright green colors to something pitiable. One such disease is the snow mold. Snow mold can be pretty messy, but it’s certainly not a death sentence for your lawn. Also, it can be prevented if you practice the right lawn care tips.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the entire concept of snow mold, and all you need to do to prevent the disease from infesting your lawn. Are you ready?
What is Snow Mold?
Snow mold can turn your once green grass into patches of “dead” and matted grass blades with a web-like white or pinkish mold. Most often, the webbing is not present, and what remains is a dry/slimy brown spot.
The disease is a lawn disease caused by two principle fungal culprits: gray snow mold (Typhulaspp; also known as Typhula blight), and pink snow mold (Microdochiumnivalis, also known as Fusarium patch) that appears as the snow melts when the grass encounters the cold, wet climates of early spring. Snow mold can affect patches of grass to die, and its fungal qualities may set off allergies for humans.
Often, the discolored patches start to green up as the temperature gets hot and dry, but on rare occasions when the cold and wet temperature persists, the patches may prevail through the summer season and even into the fall. Note that snow is not the only trigger for snow mold disease. Most instances of snow mold only affect the grass blade, so full recovery of the turf plant is standard.
Lawn Care Tips to Prevent Snow Molds in your Lawn
For many diseases, it is often better to prevent them before they occur. And there are a good number of lawn care tips to prevent snow mold.
#1. Rake out fallen leaves and debris before snowfall
An excellent way to prevent snow mold in your lawn is to clear out fallen leaves and all residue from your yard before the appearance of the first snowfall. Wet and covered piles of leaves and debris is an excellent breeding ground for snow mold disease.
When you retain patches of moist leaves in the lawn, the chances of your grass getting the condition come spring are high. So, as you make preparations for winter, ensure that last, there are no leftover leaves and clutter on your lawn.
#2. Maintain a reasonable grass length
Maintain a decent grass length when using the lawnmower. Prior to the winter season, cut your lawn at no more than 3” and no less than 2” tall. Maintain these guidelines, and your grass plant will retain strength and health through winter.
#3. Try not to pile vast amounts of snow at different areas of your lawn.
After the snowfall, it is common to heap up snow on your lawn while clearing the driveway and sidewalks. Once the snow is piled up on your grass, these areas with piled snow can take weeks longer to melt before sunlight can penetrate the grass. As they continue to stay for weeks without sunlight, the possibility of snow mold occurring increases.
Even when you pile up snow on your lawn, it is advised that you clear them up as soon as possible, instead of waiting for them to melt naturally. Alternatively, you could spread them out to make for a faster melting
#4. Apply a preventive spray in late fall
You can also apply a preventive spray of thiophanate-methyl in late fall, just before the first expected snow.
Lawn Treatment Snow Mold
Do you suspect that you have snow mold? Are you noticing small, straw-colored patches of grass with a cobweb-like goo on them? This is the fungus. Don’t panic yet; your lawn isn’t dying. The snow mold fungus, generally do not cause severe damages, except for the loss of the lushly green color.
Life Cycle of Snow Mold
Usually, snow mold can stay inactive in the ground fungal structures or spores immune to high summer temperatures. In late winter, when the temperatures beneath the piles of snow are slightly between below freezing to about 45 F, the spores or fungal structures resume active growth.
As the snow melts from the earth surface, the aggressive fungal growth keeps thriving and spreading until the earth surfaces dry out or temperatures are gradually above 45 F. Pink snow mold is a little more persistent, as long as the grass is moist, and temperatures are between 32 F and 60 F, it keeps growing.You can treat snow mold within a few weeks using the following lawn treatment tips;
#1. Apply fertilizer regularly.
Because snow mold only affects the grass blade at the early stage, fertilizing will enable your grass to push new growth and “outgrow” the fungus.
#2. Mow your lawn regularly
You’ve got make up your mind to mow your lawn regularly because tall grass holds more moisture, and they are vulnerable to snow mold.
Mow the lawn at a length that is shorter than the usual, to minimize the moisture trapped under the first snowfall of the season. Continue this until the mold is no more actively growing. Ensure you clear out all grass shavings after mowing.
#3. Gently rake over the affected areas to dry out the discolored patches quickly
Rake lightly so as not to tear out all the grasses. Raking out the loose grass allows air to circulate the affected spots and boost the recovering process of the lawn grass.
#4. Detach any thatch layer that is above 1/2 inch thick
Wait until the moisture has dried out moderately from the lawn, and you have mowed two or three times before removing thatch. Mechanical dethatching machines are known to damage fresh grass sprouts in the spring.
#5. Overseed the bare areas
For severe snow molds, overseed the bare areas. In this case, you should not fertilize or mow these seeded areas until the new grass is actively growing.
#6. Apply fungicides to treat your lawn of snow mold
This should be a last resort. You should delay using chemicals on year lawn because in most cases of snow mold, with proper care, the grass heals itself. Except in severe occurrences when the disease persists, then you can apply fungicides to clear the fungus.
Can you prevent snow mold from your lawn? Following the right lawn maintenance tips, yes, you can. However, if afterward, you still notice those unattractive pinkish and grayish patches on your lawn, don’t panic. Your lawn isn’t dying. You can treat and restore the desired green colors to your grass within a few weeks of treatment.