Snow Mold on Grass? Treatment and Prevention Tips

As the snow begin to melt, many regions welcome the spring with blooms and the sprouting green grass. However, there are areas where this is doomed by gray or pinkish web-like patches of snow mold on grass. In this article, learn more on causes, its effect on turf grass and how to control snow mold.

Snow mold is a fungi that affects grass in cold regions that experience tremendous temperature fluctuations. The mold occurs as a result of a heavy blanket of snow on the grass before the ground has completely frozen. The entrapped moisture and debris like leaves under the snow will form a basis for growth of snow mold.

Signs of snow mold on grass

Snow mold come in two types namely; gray snow mold and pink snow mold. Their signs are usually noticeable when the snow begin to melt. Straw-colored or matted whitish or pinkish patches on grass will start appearing in early spring. The circular patches varies in sizes from few inches to several feet across the yard.

Unlike gray snow mold that only affects the grass blades, pink snow mold can become severe and is likely to kill the crown and roots of your turf grass. Patches of snow mold on grass may shrink as the weather becomes hot and dry, however, in colder regions, they may persist until the next season.

In summer, this fungi becomes inactive and the spores will survive the high temperatures waiting to launch into active growth under the heavy snow covering during the winter. The snow mold life cycle will continue as long as conditions around favor them.

Snow mold damage to the lawn

Just like slime mold, the pink or gray snow mold are unsightly. As said, the gray variety may not kill the grass as is likely to disappear easily when moisture recedes. Pink snow mold is more prevalent and dangerous to the grass. A thick layer of mold on grass will deter the rate of photosynthesis thus causing your grass to starve.

Apart from affecting your plants, mold is dangerous to both human and animals. Large amount of mold spores in the air causes allergic reactions when inhaled. It is there very important you control any type of mold in your yard before they become a threat to your family.

How to treat snow mold

There are no curative treatment for snow mold on lawn. Preventive measures are a greater control of the problem. A round of preventive fungicide in fall after your last mowing and before the first significant snowfall will typically stop any growth of mold in your lawn.

Chemical fungicides are not healthy to use in lawns. They end up affecting other important lives including pollinators, decomposers and other soil mixing micro-organisms. Use a fungicide as a last resort and be sure to read and follow safety precautions. You can prevent snow mold on your lawn through the following safe ways:

  • Mow your lawn before the first snowfall: Cut your grass shorter than usual but without scalping your lawn. Mold thrive in extra-long grass where they breed and spread.
  • Pick leaves before they pile. Leaves trap moisture and create a dark environment loved by mold. There a number of ways to pick up leaves on lawn including use of a rake, leaf blower or vacuum.
  • Dethatch your lawn in the fall: A thick layer of thatch greater than ¾ inch thick is not healthy to grass. Thatch forms a home for pests, mold and other fungus.
  • Do not let snow to pile up on your lawn: Most people create snow piles on lawns while trying to clear snow from their sidewalks and driveways. Such large amounts of snow takes longer to melt when the weather warms.
  • Avoid applying nitrogen fertilizer in the fall: Although good for greening up of grass, excess nitrogen fertilizers in the fall can invite mold.
  • Healthy lawn maintenance practices involving proper mowing, watering and fertilizing should be exercised before winter season.
  • In spring, overseed any bare spots caused by snow mold. This will make your lawn to recover faster from the problem as you establish other ways of completely controlling the situation.

Waking up to gray or pink patches in your lawn can be so much disturbing. We have seen that snow mold can be prevented. If you come from colder states, snow mold is a common problem you will be dealing with. Always be watchful and take action before your lawn is completely damaged.

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