While spring is still a long way off, certain steps you can take now can help reduce your lawns chances of getting snow mold in the early spring. Snow mold is a fungal disease that appears in the early spring as snow melts away on your lawn. However, the fungal growth begins before the snow melts, beneath the cover of snow, when temperatures are near the freezing point.
Types of Snow Mold
There are two types of snow mold, gray and pink. Both fungi grow when the temperatures are near freezing and will continue after the snow melts, and as long as the turf remains cool and wet. Gray snow mold activity stops once temperatures reach 45 degrees, while pink snow mold can remain active during wet weather in the spring as long as temperatures stay below 60 degrees.
How to Spot Snow Mold
Snow mold will first appear in the lawn as circular, straw colored patches when the snow melts in the spring. These patches will continue to enlarge as long as the grass remains cold and wet. The fungus often gives the turf a matted appearance and colored fungal growth. Snow molds do not occur in lawns every season, but are instead more common when there is an early, deep snow cover that prevents the ground from freezing.
Will Snow Mold Kill my Lawn?
Damage from snow mold for the most part is not fatal for the plant, but can cause serious appearance issues. The infected areas are slower to perk up in the spring and without proper care can remain damaged through the growing season. If your lawn contracts snow mold it is important to gently rake and fluff the affected areas. This will promote drying and prevent further fungal growth.
What Can I do to Prevent Snow Mold?
The following steps can be preformed to prevent snow mold damage:
- Keep the lawn mowed at the recommended height until it has stopped growing for the season. Long grass can mat down, which encourages snow mold.
- Rake your leaves in the fall. Leaves can lay on top of your lawn and cause ideal growing conditions for mold.
- Aerate your lawn to help reduce the level of thatch in your turf.
- If possible, spread out large piles of snow and use snow fencing to prevent snow accumulation.
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