What is Snow Mold?

Snow mold is a fungal turf disease that often appears in late winter and early spring as the great melt-down is taking place. It appears on the lawn as circular grayish or pink colored patches of approximately 3 to 12 inches in diameter. In severe or extensive cases, the patches might meet to create larger areas.

There are two types of snow mold — gray snow mold (or Typhula blight) and pink snow mold (or Fusarium patch). The less destructive of the two types is gray snow mold as it only infects the leaf tissue of the turf. Pink snow mold, more severe, infects the crown — the growth center at the base of the grass plant and the origin of leaves, roots, shoots, and stems.

Many factors contribute to the growth of snow mold, but most troublesom is an extended period of snow cover on ground that is not completely frozen. This produces ideal conditions for this turf disease to flourish. Snow mold can also be caused by ill-timed fertilizer application which causes the turf to go through a growth cycle in late fall. Autumn leaves left on the turf or long grass that should have been mowed before winter also produce conditions that contribute to the instance of snow mold.

While fertilizer application, leaf removal, and grass length can be carefully controlled to reduce the likelihood of snow mold, central Indiana did experience an extended period of snow cover this winter. Some turfs have been covered by snow from early January to mid-March. As the ground underneath has at times not been completely frozen, the conditions are present for snow mold to occur.

How is snow mold prevented?

The best way to prevent the growth of snow mold is to conduct proper lawn care in the fall, before the winter weather hits.

  • Don’t apply extensive nitrogen fertilizer products in the fall.
  • Keep mowing the lawn until it stops growing.
  • Carefully remove the leaves in the fall.
  • Manage thatch (grass clippings, or any organic material — living or dead — that resides between the green grass layer and the soil) to avoid accumulation of more than 2″. A depth of around 1/2″ is ideal — it provides nutrients for the lawn but doesn’t contribute to conditions like snow mold.
  • During the winter, try to avoid piling snow on the same areas of your turf over and over. Alternate the sides of driveways and walkways on which you pile the snow as much as possible.

How do I repair snow mold damage?

But what if it’s too late to prevent the condition? If you recognize snow mold in your lawn, fungicide products are available to help prevent and treat snow mold. We do not recommend this approach though, especially for home lawns, because snow mold is usually a temporary condition that is only minimally destructive if tended to quickly. In most cases, the condition will improve as the spring weather pattern sets in. Even though the grayish pink patches may look unappealing, especially in the spring when we are anxious for the lush, green lawn, most of the damage caused by snow mold can be reversed pretty quickly if you take some simple steps.

  • The most effective treatment is to change the conditions that contribute to the growth of snow mold. When the affected turf areas have dried, the mold will stop growing. You can speed up the drying process by raking the affected areas lightly and “fluffing up” the turf.
  • Once the mold has stopped spreading, overseeding the area or using commercially available lawn patch products can remove any evidence of the turf damage caused by this fungal disease.
  • Aerating the lawn can effectively hasten turf recovery.
  • Wait it out — as stated, most cases of snow mold will improve pretty quickly with spring weather.

Calling in the Pros

If the damage to your turf is extensive — especially in the case of pink snow mold, which affects the growth system of the lawn — you may wish to consult lawn care professionals for treatment. There may be grading issues or soil conditions that are contributing to the condition. We at Landscape Solutions are knowledgeable in the prevention and control of lawn diseases like snow mold, and when necessary, the treatment thereof.

The best defense is a healthy, well-maintained lawn and landscape. If you are a property manager or HOA officer who is charged with the responsibility of maintaining common areas, contact Landscape Solutions today. We would love the opportunity to consult with you on your property.

Image from http://www.agry.purdue.edu/turf/tips/2011/03142011_snowmold.html

Snow Mold and How to Deal with It

What is Snow Mold?

Snow mold is a fungal turf disease that often appears in late winter and early spring as the great melt-down is taking place. It appears on the lawn as circular grayish or pink colored patches of approximately 3 to 12 inches in diameter. In severe or extensive cases, the patches might meet to create larger areas.

There are two types of snow mold — gray snow mold (or Typhula blight) and pink snow mold (or Fusarium patch). The less destructive of the two types is gray snow mold as it only infects the leaf tissue of the turf. Pink snow mold, more severe, infects the crown — the growth center at the base of the grass plant and the origin of leaves, roots, shoots, and stems.

Many factors contribute to the growth of snow mold, but most troublesom is an extended period of snow cover on ground that is not completely frozen. This produces ideal conditions for this turf disease to flourish. Snow mold can also be caused by ill-timed fertilizer application which causes the turf to go through a growth cycle in late fall. Autumn leaves left on the turf or long grass that should have been mowed before winter also produce conditions that contribute to the instance of snow mold.

While fertilizer application, leaf removal, and grass length can be carefully controlled to reduce the likelihood of snow mold, central Indiana did experience an extended period of snow cover this winter. Some turfs have been covered by snow from early January to mid-March. As the ground underneath has at times not been completely frozen, the conditions are present for snow mold to occur.

How is snow mold prevented?

The best way to prevent the growth of snow mold is to conduct proper lawn care in the fall, before the winter weather hits.

  • Don’t apply extensive nitrogen fertilizer products in the fall.
  • Keep mowing the lawn until it stops growing.
  • Carefully remove the leaves in the fall.
  • Manage thatch (grass clippings, or any organic material — living or dead — that resides between the green grass layer and the soil) to avoid accumulation of more than 2″. A depth of around 1/2″ is ideal — it provides nutrients for the lawn but doesn’t contribute to conditions like snow mold.
  • During the winter, try to avoid piling snow on the same areas of your turf over and over. Alternate the sides of driveways and walkways on which you pile the snow as much as possible.

How do I repair snow mold damage?

But what if it’s too late to prevent the condition? If you recognize snow mold in your lawn, fungicide products are available to help prevent and treat snow mold. We do not recommend this approach though, especially for home lawns, because snow mold is usually a temporary condition that is only minimally destructive if tended to quickly. In most cases, the condition will improve as the spring weather pattern sets in. Even though the grayish pink patches may look unappealing, especially in the spring when we are anxious for the lush, green lawn, most of the damage caused by snow mold can be reversed pretty quickly if you take some simple steps.

  • The most effective treatment is to change the conditions that contribute to the growth of snow mold. When the affected turf areas have dried, the mold will stop growing. You can speed up the drying process by raking the affected areas lightly and “fluffing up” the turf.
  • Once the mold has stopped spreading, overseeding the area or using commercially available lawn patch products can remove any evidence of the turf damage caused by this fungal disease.
  • Aerating the lawn can effectively hasten turf recovery.
  • Wait it out — as stated, most cases of snow mold will improve pretty quickly with spring weather.

Calling in the Pros

If the damage to your turf is extensive — especially in the case of pink snow mold, which affects the growth system of the lawn — you may wish to consult lawn care professionals for treatment. There may be grading issues or soil conditions that are contributing to the condition. We at Landscape Solutions are knowledgeable in the prevention and control of lawn diseases like snow mold, and when necessary, the treatment thereof.

The best defense is a healthy, well-maintained lawn and landscape. If you are a property manager or HOA officer who is charged with the responsibility of maintaining common areas, contact Landscape Solutions today. We would love the opportunity to consult with you on your property.

Image from http://www.agry.purdue.edu/turf/tips/2011/03142011_snowmold.html

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