Your lawn has been exposed to harsh conditions this past winter. The snow has melted, and any moisture that was left behind froze, resulting in some discolored patches.
Don’t worry; it isn’t dead.
It’s just experiencing snow mold, commonly referred to as a rust fungus, that can be easily prevented and treated.
Want to learn how to do that?
In this article, we'll talk about what snow mold actually is, how to identify it and its symptoms, and how to prevent and treat snow mold on your lawn in the winter.
Let's dive in!
What is Snow Mold?
Snow mold is a type of fungi that commonly affects grasses and other plants during cool, wet weather conditions in late winter or early spring. This fungal disease can cause significant damage to lawns, gardens, and other plantings.
There are several different types of snow mold, including pink snow mold, gray snow mold, and white snow mold. Each type is characterized by a different set of symptoms.
* Gray snow mold - This is the most common type of snow mold and appears as a grayish-white fuzzy growth on the surface of the snow. It often affects grassy areas.
* Pink snow mold - This type of snow mold is pink or reddish in color and often appears in circular patches. It can affect both grassy and wooded areas.
Both kinds of mold can kill your grass, and they can also make you sick by triggering allergic reactions. Pink snow mold is more severe than gray because it kills not only the grass leaves but also the root system. And it can keep growing even when temperatures are as high as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. With gray snow mold, your lawn may come back after an outbreak, but that's not the case if pink snow mold takes over.
What Are the Causes of Snow Mold?
There are several factors that can contribute to the growth of snow mold, including:
-Lack of sunlight
Typically, snow mold appears after heavy snowfall before the ground freezes. As snow accumulates on top of the grass and leaves don't get cleaned up, snow mold can form. The fungus thrives in wet and cold conditions, and it can kill your lawn if you don't take preventive measures.
What Kinds of Grass Does Snow Mold Affect?
While any type of grass can be affected by snow mold, it is most common in cool-season grasses like rye, bluegrass, and fescue. These grasses are more susceptible to damage because they remain green throughout the winter, which provides a food source for fungi. Warm-season grasses like Bermuda and St. Augustine are less likely to be affected because they go dormant in the winter and do not provide a food source.
How to Prevent Snow Mold?
Prevention of snow mold is not easy, but there are several steps you can take to lessen the chances that your yard will be hit with this blight.
Get ahead of the game by mowing your lawn before the snow falls. Cut the grass a little bit lower than usual to prevent too much-trapped moisture. You can also bag up your lawn clippings, so they don't make the ground soggy.
Applying a fungicidal treatment in advance can help protect your lawn from snow mold. If you know your lawn is especially prone to this condition, take measures to address it with a targeted product prior to the first big snowfall of the season.
Thatch is a layer of dead and living organic matter that builds up on your lawn over time. If you have too much thatch, it can prevent water, oxygen, and nutrients from reaching the roots of your grass, creating an ideal environment for pests and diseases. So be sure to dethatch your lawn two or three times a year, depending on the type of grass you have.
Waterlogged lawns are a haven for snow mold, so be sure your yard has adequate Drainage. If you see any low-lying spots where puddles tend to form, fill them in with topsoil.
It's best not to fertilize your cool-season grasses in the autumn. These types of grasses go into a dormancy stage during the winter by allowing their blades to dry out. As a result, they become less vulnerable to mold and can better survive the winter. The plants will come back to life on their own in the spring, so there's no need to disrupt this natural cycle by fertilizing six weeks or so before the first snowfall is anticipated.
Leaves and snow can damage your lawn if you don't take care of them. Rake up leaf piles in the fall, and avoid creating big mountains of snow when shoveling your sidewalk or driveway.
A snowy winter makes it almost impossible for the soil to warm up, especially in northern climates. You cannot turn the heat on your lawn. This is why sometimes snow mold can ruin your grass, even if you have a healthy and robust lawn.
However, you can take the steps we mentioned above to protect your yard from it during the winter months. Hope the tips we shared on how to remove snow mold are going to be helpful in ensuring a healthy lawn. If you have any questions or have something special to share, feel free to share it with us through the comment section below.