All About Snow Mold
Are you having trouble with snow mold on your lawn? After the snow has completely melted in your yard, it may leave some undesirable effects on your lawn. It is important to note how this lawn disease happens. Continue reading to understand now mold, its underlying causes, symptoms, cure and prevention.
- What is Snow Mold?
Snow molds pertains to a certain type of fungi that attacks lawns in wet, cool weather or grasses that are thoroughly covered with snow. It is a type of grass disease that could damage or cause the death of lawns in your backyard in the late winter season. The damage that it brings is undesirable and causing concentrated circles which could measure from three to twelve inches. Just imagine how your house lawn would look if it is infected with these fungi. The patches it creates are usually circular in shape and covered with whitish-gray molds. It also appears just like a cobweb. They may become larger and make the grass look more like it is soaked with water and usually appears like it has been bleached. There are two common known snow mold fungi that infect lawns and grasses. Their symptoms may look similar. There are no grass species resistant to these lawn diseases, but there are grass species which are less susceptible to each of the snow mold fungi than the others.
- What Should You Look For?
The two varieties of snow mold fungi that can affect the grass in your lawn are the gray snow mold and the pink snow mold. They affect all types of lawns, but generally the fescue grasses and Kentucky bluegrass are less susceptible to both types of snow mold fungi. The two species of Typhula is usually the causes of gray snow mold. It is likely developed on grasses that are mostly covered by snow for 60 days. Gray snow mold becomes more evident as the snow melts. They usually appear on irregular patches or perfect circles that measure for about 3″ or more in diameter. The patches that this certain form of snow mold fungi creates usually appear in gray or white and entwined together. These snow mold fungi can become more severe when there is a persistent snow fall and when the ground is unfrozen for a long period. In fact, it could kill large areas of lawns as it becomes more severe. Gray snow mold is usually found in areas where there is a persistent snow fall and cold winter temperature.
Pink snow mold on the other hand is another variety of snow mold fungi that is typically known as Fusarium or Microdochium nivale patch. It is likely developed on grasses under snow cover and becomes more evident when the snow melts. This is a severe condition wherein it could destroy the crowns and roots of lawns. As it matted to the gray snow mold, it could cause more damage. Pink snow mold patches commonly measure for about 2″ to 12″ in diameter. They usually appear in light tan or white in color. A pink-colored or salmon-colored ring growth is usually present on the outer edge of pink snow mold patches. Further, this variety of snow mold fungi also infects lawns that are not covered with snow during the periods of wet, cool weather. Pink snow mold could survive on the plant’s decayed debris just like the gray snow mold until the end of summer month.
- What are the Causes of Snow Mold?
Generally, snow mold is usually caused when there is a relatively extended period of snow cover on the lawn which is likely unfrozen. Snow mold could also be the result of fertilizer application on the lawn too late in the season. Itg can occur on lawns which are not cleaned well in the fall or on long grasses which are not mowed to a proper height at the end of the growing season.
- How to Get Rid of Snow Mold
As snow mold could be a threat to the complete loss of the grasses in your lawn, it would be best if you know how to get rid of it. A spring clean-up is good for reducing snow mold diseases on your lawns. Preventing the growth of snow molds can be done effectively through the use of cultural management that involves yard clean-up at the end of the summer season, mowing to the proper height, and not applying fertilizer too late in the season. Leaves and other decayed materials should be removed from the lawns as they could contribute to the development of snow mold fungi under the snow cover. As such, yard clean-up is particularly needed before winter sets in.
During persistent snow fall, it would be advisable not to pile snow deeply along the driveways and sidewalks where it could form a snow bank that could last for a longer period. In addition, a good placement of landscape plants and snow fences are recommendable to avoid deep drifting of the snow. It would be best suited to large lawn areas where snow mold could likely develop. In spring clean-up, raking away matted and dead grass from damaged lawn areas are advisable to allow the new growth of turf.
The application of fungicide at lawn areas which are affected by snow molds is generally not recommended, except in severe circumstances. This is because of the fact that lawns will mostly recover from the diseases by using cultural management. If cultural management is not sufficient to treat lawn diseases, it is the only time to use fungicides to treat snow mold. They are generally the most effective when applied before the winter sets in. One must also note that fungicides are not advisable to be applied during spring season as it is not effective after the occurrence of the damage. However, if pink snow mold is involved, a fungicide could be used for treating the lawn disease, but we recommend consulting with a lawn care professional prior to applying any fungicides.