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Diagnosing Snow Mold

Winter Lawn Disease

It may not feel like it just yet, but better weather is on the horizon. As the snow and ice begin to melt away over the coming weeks and months, be sure to inspect your lawn for any hints of turf disease. Although it may not seem like your lawn has been up to much over the past several wintery weeks, extended periods of damp, chilly weather can actually bring about various nasty surprises in early spring. One such unwelcome surprise is snow mold, a common fungal disease impacting many types of northern turgrass species.

Diagnosing Snow Mold

Circular, straw-colored patches of matted down grass ranging in size from 1 to 10 inches in diameter are usually the first indication that something is amiss. There are two types of snow mold disease that can infect grass plants: gray snow mold, which takes the form of light brown, gray, or straw colored patches on the lawn, and pink snow mold, which often causes yellow, tan, or salmon-colored patches to appear. Pink snow mold is considered the more troublesome disease of the two, as it affects both the crown and roots of the grass, rather than just the blades. In both cases, grass discoloration is caused by strands of a webby, fungal material known as mycelium on the lawn.  

Causes of Snow Mold 

Snow mold has many causes, but the most common trigger is prolonged snow coverage. Nutrient deficiency throughout the winter months can also play a role, and is a major reason why fall fertilizer is such an important aspect of Weed Man’s standard lawn care program. 


Treating Snow Mold

The good news is that snow mold usually disappears on its own with improved environmental conditions. However, following the list of guidelines below can help keep your lawn free of damaging disease:
 
  • Only apply moderate levels of nitrogen in the fall 
  • Avoid putting late applications of fertilizer down, as this increases growth before the plant goes dormant
  • Mow the lawn until it stops growing to improve grass blade resiliency
  • Rake leaves in the fall, as a thick layer of leaves can smother the lawn and encourage the spread of disease
  • Manage thatch levels through annual aeration to avoid build-up and further spreading of the disease
  • Improve the drainage of your lawn to stop excessive water from being retained
  • Water in the early mornings only 
Questions About Snow Mold?

If you think you may have snow mold on your lawn and want to discuss lawn disease prevention or management, contact Weed Man today at (201) 342-8228!

 
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