Winter brings out all sorts of hidden dangers that can harm your lawn. One of the most damaging winter diseases, and one that is rarely talked about, is snow mold. It is a disease that only effects area that receive heavy snowfall throughout the winter that lays on the grass for extended periods of time, so much of the United States doesn’t have to worry too much about this. Folks in the Northeast and Midwest have likely seen this though, even if they weren’t aware of what it was called.
What is Snow Mold?
Technically named Typhula blight, it is a type of fungus and turf disease that damages or kills grass as snow melts. There are two different kinds, pink snow mold and gray snow mold. Gray is the most common, and affects the blades of the grass. Pink is less common but more damaging, capable of destroying the crowns and roots of grass, permanently destroying sections of a lawn. It shows up as circular, discolored areas, usually between three and twelve inches in diameter.
How Can You Prevent Snow Mold?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to know if you have snow mold until it appears. The best way to prevent it from ever appearing is simply to keep a clean, well-rooted lawn. Watering and fertilizing properly and keeping properly balanced soil will all help your lawn to defend itself. You’ll also want to keep an eye on snow cover in the winter, evenly spreading piles out across the lawn so that no one spot is concentrated upon. In the end, all the care in the world may not make a difference given the right winter conditions.
How Can You Fix Snow Mold?
Fixing snow mold depends on which type you have, pink or gray.
- Gray snow mold: The most direct method to repairing the damage gray snow mold causes to your lawn is to fluff up the blades of grass with a rake, spreading them apart and allowing air to circulate. Gray mold will generally disappear on its own as the temperature rises, although you will want to put some light fertilizer on the mold areas immediately after the grass starts to green, to aid recovery.
- Pink snow mold: More persistent and damaging, pink mold rarely goes away on its own. Aerating the grass is the first step, but you will need to clean your rake afterwards, as pink snow mold spreads easily. This type will also go away on its own, but waiting for it to do so may permanently destroy patches of your lawn. Applying liquid kelp and humic acids is a way to directly counter the mold, plus it is an organic method and won’t damage the rest of your lawn or cause safety issues. If you’re in more of a hurry, or that method didn’t work, applying chemical fungicide once every five days or so will do the trick.
Now you know what snow mold is, how to spot it, and how to fix it, and that’s one more step towards having a great lawn in the cooler regions.