Making Sense of Snow Mold and How to Deal With It

For people who live in the Snow Belt long enough, they tend to deal with snow mold. They will experience such a problem with the lawn every time in the spring, like discolored grass and straw-colored with a pink or white web-like coating.

It appears right after the snow cover begins t melt. It has a big chance to thrive and spread as long as there is cool and damp weather. Usually, discolored grass and coating begin to disappear when the weather gets hot and dry.

In this post, you will get to know more detail about snow mold and how to deal with it effectively.

What Is Snow Mold?

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Snow mold is a fungal disease that tends to appear right after the winter season. It is a lawn disease that grows becomes of two principle fungal culprits, the Gray and Pink snow mold. Those snow mold types become active underneath the snow.

Snow Mold develops on the grass located in between the grass and the snow. This fungal disease tends to occur in the early spring where there are still a few falls of snow on the lawn.

After all the snow is gone, you will notice the blotchy and patchy cottony-type webbing resting on top of the lawn.

Do not worry; this type of mold does not damage the lawn. However, when there is snow mold on the lawn, it would block the sunlight from reaching the lawn. It will make the grass not be able to produce chlorophyll.

One thing to know is that we cannot see the effect right after the winter. It would be visible until a few months later. You will be able to see that some parts of the lawn are not as healthy as before. As we know, there are two types of snow mold, the pink and gray one, let us see the difference.

Gray Snow Mold

This mold is also known as Typhula blight. Dead patches that have a light gray or bleached look identify it. It can easily be found on the part of the lawn in between the snowdrifts and the grass.

Because the drifts of the snowmelt more slowly than the other snow around it, the grass becomes soggy and wet. That promotes the growth of mold on the grass. This type of snow mold patches is a few feet across.

When the soil of the grass remains wet for months, it gives the gray snow moldability to kill the roots of the grass. However, it rarely happens. In most cases, gray snow mold is known to kill only the surface blade of the lawn.

The grass cannot make a comeback and regrow from the roots until the weather is warm again. Therefore, you have to know how to get rid of the snow mold first to make the re-green your lawn. Keep reading the post.

Pink Snow Mold

This one is also known as Fusarium patch. As the name suggests, this snow mold tends to have a color grayish to pink. Pink snow mold is considered more dangerous to the grass than the gray one. This snow mold kills the grass entirely.

Gray snow mold tends to kill just the blade of the grass while pink snow mold can also kill the roots. That makes your lawn having some kind of dead patches that has pink-colored borders. This kind of mold can begin to grow in the fall season too.

It is not only caused by the extended snow period. It can grow at any time when the grass is wet and cold. When the weather is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, there is likely a chance of pink snow mold growing on your lawn.

When a location experiences a wet fall, the snow mold begins to grow in the season. It has a high chance to thrive all winter under the snow layer. It would cause widespread damage to the grass.

Unlike the gray snow mold, the pink mold is much smaller but you will find many more patches across the lawn. Compared to the gray one, this snow mold is very dangerous to the lawn. The grass cannot grow the mold patches anymore.

Ways to Prevent Snow Mold on Your Lawn

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There are certain care practices you can do to address the patch sufficiently and give a limitation to its presence every year. Here are things you will need to take care of your lawn:

– Garden rake

– Fungicide

– Loppers, Saw

– Lawn Mower

– Complete fertilizer

– Detaching Machine and Core Aerifier (optional)

The first thing you can do is to prune off branches on trees that cover some parts of the lawn area. It is to make sure all the lawn areas get enough sunlight every day. It will also improve the air circulation around the turf.

Pink snow mold can develop under fallen leaves or other things during wet and cool weather. Therefore, it is best to rake up the leaves and any other debris on the lawn especially when it’s fall and winter season.

On the infected and its surroundings, apply a fungicide immediately after you notice the mold. The use of a fungicide is not recommended to use regularly because it could damage the lawn. You should use the chemical only for highly visible and important areas.

Do not forget to mow the lawn regularly. Do a single mowing with a cut that is no more than a third of the blade height. Keep mowing it regularly until the fall season when the grass is not growing.

In the early spring or late winter, you should begin to dethatch the lawn area. At that time, the thatch is usually thicker than a half-inch. You should break up the thatch in a larger site using a vertical mower.

The poor drainage can encourage the mold. Therefore, you can alleviate it by pulling up cores of soil and leave them on the lawn. You can use a machine or hand Aerifier to do it.

During the spring, you can just fertilize the lawn when it is warm and dry. This method is to let the dead patches regrow and make the entire lawn green again. You have to fertilize it during a warm and dry spring. Do not do it in the fall season.

Curing the Mold Lawn

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When you know what a snow mold is and how to deal with it, you can easily eliminate it. Well, you can cure and prevent the damage from snow mold by gently rake the affected lawn areas. You need to use a leaf rake for this.

After that, you can witness the lawn begin to green-up within a few weeks. You do not even need to use some kind of chemical to deal with snow mold. Rake the lawn regularly and your house would be free from snow mold.

In severe cases, you may find the snow mold gives major damage to the lawn. This can happen to your lawn if you do not rake it to remove and break-up the snow mold immediately. When the mold is left on the lawn for weeks or months, it would cause the grass to die.

Using chemicals like fungicide can be quite effective to kill the mold but the applications are not necessary. It would cause damage to the grass. Using the leaf rake to break up the snow mold is the most effective way to save the grass from damage.

Why Chemical Treatments Unnecessary

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There is a reason why the use of chemical treatments unnecessary. You should try other options first before choosing to use chemical treatments such as fungicide.

Well, snow mold is a type of disease that can quickly die when it gets direct sunlight. For Gray snow mold, it will stop growing when the area dries out. While the Pink snow mold may continue to live as long as the temperature is still below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Therefore, you do not need to use chemical treatments at all. Just use a simple tool and the sunlight. It is a perfect combination to deal with snow mold.

Lawn Treatment before the Snow

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In this part of the post, you will find how to deal with snow mold on your lawn in a way that most people do not know about.

1. Fall Clean-Up

Cleaning up the lawn during the fall season is one of the most effective ways to prevent snow mold. We all know that fallen leaves or dead foliage are one of the factors of the snow mold growth on the lawn. The foliage will be a great growth catalyst for the mold.

By doing the clean up during the fall, you can prevent the mold. This method will eliminate the chance of snow covering all the leaves. Keep checking out the weather forecast to get ready for winter.

2. Lawn Mowing

Well, snow mold attacks the grass blades first. It is best to cut the blades before the mold attacks. Therefore, when the winter comes, the snow mold does not get a chance to grow on the blades. You should mow the lawn low cut about 2 inches tall.

It will prevent the snow mold to spread too much. When the snow starts covering the grass, there will be no room for the mold to grow since the grass is low cut. If it is taller, the mold has more room to grow and ruin the green grass.

3. Thatch Control

You have to get the thatch under control to prevent the snow mold. As a result, the thatch will not be a big problem for your lawn. You should maintain it about half an inch long. That will be useful to keep the lawn healthy.

If the thatch were left to run loose, it would cause some issues to lay larger snow mold spreading. You have to keep things in check by doing some dethatching.

4. Big Pile Cleaning

When you have a big pile of snow on your lawn during the winter season, you have to clean it up. Many people clean the snow from the driveways and throw the snow pile on the lawn. The big snow pile on the lawn will melt a lot slower than the other part of the snow.

To prevent the snow mold, it is very crucial to remove the snow as soon as possible. It will stop the mold on the grass to spread and create a more complicated issue.

5. Low Nitrogen Lawn Food

Using a chemical to get rid of the snow mold is unnecessary. Feeding the grass with the lawn food that contains a high amount of nitrogen is a mistake. Many people think it would protect the grass from the mold but it is not. It can only welcome the mold since it can benefit it.

If you want to use the nitrogen lawn food, you should aim for the one with a low amount of nitrogen. The minimum help like that would be beneficial to the grass.

6. Recovery

After doing all or some of the methods above, you need to give the lawn time to recover from winter. No need to apply chemical treatments on it, just wait until the lawn is fully recovered. You can have your beautiful and healthy lawn back.

Treatment Specifically for Pink Snow Mold

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Pink snow mold tends to be more dangerous to the grass than the Gray one. Generally, giving it a chemical fungicide treatment is recommended. You should give the treatment twice a week with a 10 days space.

However, this post would emphasize its reader to choose the more natural solutions over the chemical ones, look at some organic solutions here.

1. Liquid Kelp and Humic Acids

This one contains several bio-stimulants to help quick recovery of a lawn from snow mold. You can use one of those or both of them at once to provide benefits for the soil of your lawn. Aim for a product in the form of spraying liquid for an easy application.

2. Earthworm Castings and Compost Tea

Tea is known to help reduce most diseases of the lawn. To make a tea cover the entire area of lawn, you can make it like this. Take a cup of compost tea and soak them for up to 36 hours in a five-gallon bucket that’s filled with 2/3 water.

Stir it often and wait for 36 hours. Then, you can just strain and use a watering can or sprayer to apply the tea. Soak the snow mold and its surroundings.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide and Cedar Yard Guard

One thing you can also try is the one. Use a cup of hydrogen peroxide in 2 gallons of water 3 times with five days apart. It probably does not kill the snow mold but this treatment will reduce the spreading.

Cedar Yard Guard can also be a great recommendation. It has anti-fungal properties. You can just spray it in the same way as the hydrogen.

FAQ about Snow Mold

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  1. Q: Is snow mold dangerous to your health?

A: As we know, snow mold can damage or kill grass of your lawn. The mold can also affect human health.

The snow mold can cause superficial fungal spores, which can trigger asthma attacks and allergies. Prevent and get rid of snow mold from your house area to keep it healthy.

  1. Q: What is snow mold allergy?

A: If you are allergic to snow mold, you may have sneezing, sniffling, or a runny nose. It can also be called Hay fever that has a few symptoms such as burning eyes, coughing, and nasal congestion.

  1. Q: How deal with snow mold on orchids?

A: If you are dealing with this issue, you have to report the orchid in fresh potting media. It is an effective way to control snow mold on orchids. You should water the pot only when the soil gets dry.

  1. Q: Should you wait until the snow dries out to remove the mold?

A: What you need to know is the snow mold is a fungus that can grow under snow cover. Therefore, if you let it stays longer, the lawn will have a greater risk of damage and spread.

As soon as you notice the mold on the grass, do not wait until the snow cover dries. Just rake the area immediately to remove it.

  1. Q: What are the snow mold trends in research?

A: There are no specific trends about snow mold in the research. However, the researcher recommends that earlier can be better in dealing with snow mold and fungicide.

  1. Q: What are the best ways to get rid of snow mold?

A: Some of the best ways are already shown above. You can find it in this article. One thing you have to keep in mind. A little bit of prevention is worth a huge amount of cure. Prevent the snow mold from growing so you do not have to deal with it anymore.

Final Thought

Using a chemical treatment like fungicide is not recommended. Who needs a chemical when you can easily deal with the snow mold with organic solutions and methods? If you want your lawn to be well treated, you should call an expert and make a schedule to evaluate your lawn.

An expert or professional knows what to do. They all have access to the tools and machines if needed. You need to prepare the budget for it. Finally, you can just wait for the result.

Additional references:

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/deal-with-snow-mold-effectively-way-most-people-dont-know.html

https://www.thespruce.com/snow-mold-2153094

https://www.grandforksherald.com/lifestyle/4594210-fielding-questions-snow-mold-low-hanging-branches-and-moving

https://lawncaresimplified.typepad.com/lawn_care_simplified_safe/2015/03/handling-snow-mold.html

 

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