How To Identify, Treat, And Prevent The Worst Winter Lawn Disease

Utah’s winters have snow in spades, and with all that snow comes beautiful scenery that looks straight out of a postcard. Unfortunately, beneath all that snow could lurk a devastating fungus: snow mold. When spring comes, and the snows melt, you’ll discover just how bad the damage is. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to treat and prevent this annoying lawn fungal disease.

Everything You Should Know About Snow Mold

While most other lawn diseases are a problem from spring to fall, snow mold starts in the winter. And it happens to be one of the most destructive turfgrass diseases because most people aren’t aware they have a problem for months. There are two types of snow molds, and they thrive beneath the surface of snow on our lawns.

How Snow Mold Forms

Indigenous people living in the Arctic can keep warm by building shelters out of large blocks of snow. Despite snow being cold, it acts as an insulator. This is the same principle behind snow mold formation. When the ground hasn’t frozen completely yet, and we get a lot of snowfall, it creates the ideal environment for snow mold to thrive. The warmth from the earth warms the space between the lawn, and the snow and mold can thrive there like humans in an igloo.

How To Tell If You Have Snow Mold

There are two kinds of snow mold. Gray snow mold, which produces white or gray colored patches, and pink snow mold, which produces white or pinkish patches. Unlike other lawn diseases that create irregularly-shaped areas, snow mold spreads out in circular forms. Depending on how bad the problem is, the patches could be a couple of inches in diameter or even several feet across. Both pink and gray snow mold press down on the grass, appearing matted and crusted with spores. While gray snow mold only affects the portion of the grass appearing above the soil, pink snow mold will kill the blades of grass and the root system beneath the surface.

Treating Snow Mold In Lawns

If you have an active snow mold infestation in your lawn, you’ll need to apply a topical fungicide. These products won’t harm the healthy, unaffected grass, but they certainly will wipe out harmful molds, mildews, and fungi that want nothing more than to chow down on your grass. Once you’ve restored your lawn, you’ll need to take preventative measures.

  • Make sure to re-apply for the fungicide in the spring and fall.
  • Mow regularly during the spring and summer. Tall grass is a haven for not only microscopic pests but fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes as well. And be sure to mow your lawn slightly shorter than you normally would at the very end of fall. Just be sure it’s not so low that it scalps the lawn.
  • Rake up thatch, fallen leaves, and other organic debris. Any time these things are left on your lawn, they create pockets of trapped warm air beneath the snow where microbes thrive. Leaving dead organic debris on your lawn can also speed up the rate of soil compaction and thatch accumulation. Grass smothered by thatch or hard compacted soil won’t be as healthy, and unhealthy grass is the most susceptible to diseases.
  • Take care not to deposit all shoveled snow in one place. For one thing, all that weight pressing down on the grass will stress it out. For another, when the snow starts melting, it will take longer for one big pile to do so. Just look at any shopping mall parking lot. All those huge mounds of snow created by snowplows are the last to go. When the earth is warming up in spring, the heat given off by the ground will stay trapped under all that snow for longer. It’s the perfect storm for snow mold.
  • Consider a season-long treatment plan from Ferta-Lawn. Our program will not only treat lawn diseases but also deliver targeted fertilizer applications throughout the year. Robust, healthy grass is more resilient against many problems, not just diseases. And because our staff is highly experienced, we can recognize the earliest stages of a problem and nip them in the bud.

Find Lawn Care Services Near Salt Lake City

Win the war on snow mold with help from the experts at Ferta-Lawn. Our lawn disease treatment has saved thousands of yards from damaging molds and mildews for over 25 years. If microscopic problems plague your turfgrass, put our lawn care services to work for you! Fill out our online form and tell us what problem you’re experiencing, or you can give us a call at 801-295-3057.

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