- Snow Mold Fungus: Learn About Snow Mold Control
- What is Snow Mold?
- Snow Mold Control
- Snow Mold on Lawns
- This Lawn Fungus Might Be Lurking Beneath the Snow in Your Yard
- Making Sense of Snow Mold
- Tracking Snow Mold Triggers
- Restoring a Lawn Afflicted with Snow Mold
- Stopping Snow Mold Before It Starts
- What is Snow Mold Lawn Disease?
- Types of Snow Mold
- Controlling Snow Mold Disease
- Preventing Snow Mold Disease
- If You Have Snow Mold
- LAWN CARE SIMPLIFIED – A Safe and Natural Approach
- Snow Mold: What It Is & How to Treat It
- Deal With Snow Mold Effectively In A Way Most People Don’t Know
- Why You Need a Vision
- How to Create Your Life Vision
- What Do You Want?
- What Would Your Best Life Look Like?
- Plan Backwards
- Pink Snow Mold Control: How To Get Rid of Pink Snow Mold
- Key Takeaways
- Is Snow Mold Dangerous to Your Lawn?
- Snow Mold Prevention
Snow Mold Fungus: Learn About Snow Mold Control
Spring is a time of new beginnings and the awakening of lots of the growing things you’ve missed all winter. When the receding snow reveals a badly damaged lawn, many homeowners despair – but try not to worry, it’s only snow mold. This fungus is unsightly, but is easy to manage for homeowners of all skill levels. Read on to learn more about snow mold and how to manage it on your lawn.
What is Snow Mold?
As the snow melts for the last time this spring, you may notice some unusual brown rings and matted areas on your lawn. This is the calling card of one of the more frustrating turfgrass diseases: snow mold fungus. Snow mold in grass is a problem that seems to defy logic entirely. After all, isn’t it too cold under the snow for fungi to grow?
Snow mold is actually a group of fungal diseases caused by pathogenic fungus that lie dormant in the soil until the conditions are just right to invade nearby grasses. Snow mold can tolerate more cold than most members of its Kingdom and it thrives in the conditions present under a thick blanket of snow. Because of the insulating properties of snow, the ground beneath a heavy coat of the white stuff can be completely unfrozen despite freezing air temperatures.
When this happens, the snow melts ever so slowly into the grass, creating a cool and incredibly humid environment for the snow molds to take hold. Once all that snow is finally thawed, a lawn infected with snow mold will show new straw-colored patches, rings or matted areas. It’s rare that snow mold will kill the crowns of your turfgrass, but it preys heavily on the leaves.
Snow Mold Control
Snow mold treatment starts with a thorough dethatching of your lawn. After all, the thatch helps hold moisture against the grass, so removing as much as you can at the beginning of the season is a good idea. Watch the grass for the next few weeks after dethatching. If you get new, unaffected growth, you’ll only need to keep the grass in good condition in case snow mold returns next season.
Grass that has died completely, on the other hand, will need to be overseeded. Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue have shown some resistance to certain types of snow mold, and they may be a good solution if snow mold is a chronic problem in your area.
Once you’ve got your lawn re-established, it’s important to maintain it in a way that discourages snow mold in the winter.
- Continue to mow your grass until the growth has stopped completely, as a tall canopy will make snow mold worse.
- If your grass must be fed, do so in the spring so your grass can use the nitrogen up since high nitrogen environments contribute to some snow mold problems.
- Lastly, remember to dethatch your lawn late in the fall to remove as much build-up as possible before the snows start again.
Snow Mold on Lawns
Pink snow mold can be more problematic in some years, though probably not this year since the fungus is active only under cool (30-50 degrees F) and wet conditions. Pink snow mold is caused by the fungus Microdochium nivale (Photo 4), which produces roughly circular bleached patches ranging in size from 1-8 inches in diameter. The patch will appear red-brown and water-soaked at first then later turn pinkish white with red-brown border (Photo 5). In the foliar blight phase, this fungus can be easily spread by mowing.
Snow mold damage was heavy in some lawns this year. However, the problem usually does not occur frequently enough or severely enough in home lawns to warrant preventive fungicide application in the fall. Most home lawns will survive but they might need some help by raking the matted grass to allow air and sun to reach the growing plants. For golf course greens and possibly athletic fields, the best management practice is preventive fungicide application in the fall before permanent snow cover. For both diseases fungicides containing one of the following active ingredients may be used: azoxystrobin, ioprodione, propiconazole, triadimefon, pyraclostrobin, or chlorothalonil.
To minimize snow mold development in the next year avoid excessive nitrogen applications in late fall. Continue to mow turf as long as growth continues and rake leaves from the lawn in the fall.
Please see our website for information on sending turfgrass samples to the ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic.
Snow mold on home lawn. Photo by Rich Pope.
Gray snow mold patches on home lawn 24 hours after snow has melted. Photo by David D. Minner
Gray snow mold fungal mycelium and young orange/brown sclerotia. Photo by David D. Minner
Pink snow mold- Microdochium nivale fungal spores at 20X magnification. Photo by Fanny Iriarte.
Pink snow mold. Source: CDGA Turfgrass Program
This Lawn Fungus Might Be Lurking Beneath the Snow in Your Yard
After a long winter, the return of songbirds and colorful splashes of early blooming bulbs are welcome signs of spring, but other signs are not as welcome. Snow mold, so called because it thrives under a layer of snow and isn’t noticed until spring, is a lawn fungus that results in patches of dead grass in an otherwise healthy lawn. Not only unsightly, snow mold fungi can trigger allergies and asthma attacks in people. If your grass was lush and green last fall, but dead spots are visible when warmer temps arrive, your lawn is a victim of snow mold. Ahead, you’ll learn what causes snow mold, how to treat it, and how to reduce the risk of recurrence so you can bring your lawn back to life.
Making Sense of Snow Mold
Pink snow mold (Microdochium nivale) and gray snow mold (Typhula incarnata) are caused by freeze-tolerant fungi that can grow on all types of lawn grasses in regions subject to cold, wet, and snowy winters. These two types of fungi that trigger snow mold are present in virtually all soil, but the damage they cause is slightly different.
- Gray snow mold, identified by dead patches with a light gray or whitish “bleached” appearance, is often found on the portion of the lawn beneath large snow drifts. The drifts melt more slowly than the surrounding snow, so the grass beneath them remains soggy and wet, promoting mold growth. Gray snow mold patches are irregularly shaped and can be a couple of inches in diameter or a few feet across. While gray snow mold can kill the roots of the grass if the soil remains wet for months, in most cases, it kills only the surface blades, and grass will often regrow from the roots when the weather warms.
- Pink snow mold kills not just blades of grass but also its roots, resulting in circular dead patches with pinkish or rust-colored borders. Pink snow mold can begin to grow any time the grass is cold and wet (around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or lower), either during a long wet spring or an especially wet fall. When pink snow mold starts to grow in the fall, it can thrive all winter under a layer of snow, resulting in widespread damage to the grass. Patches caused by pink snow mold are typically less than 12 inches in diameter, but numerous patches may appear across the lawn. The grass will not regrow in patches caused by pink snow mold.
Tracking Snow Mold Triggers
While all lawns in areas that experience cold winters can develop snow mold, certain factors can put your grass at increased risk:
- When an early snow occurs, it melts quickly because the before the ground is still relatively warm. This traps moisture at the soil’s surface, keeping grass soggy and cold and creating the perfect environment for snow mold to start growing.
- Dry fallen leaves on the ground create a soggy blanket of organic matter as they begin to decompose. This allows snow mold fungi to get a foothold.
- Like fallen leaves, grass left long in fall provides a blanket of organic matter on the surface of the soil, keeping it soggy and creating a breeding ground where fungi can thrive.
- Low areas in the lawn that hold water are prime locations for snow mold. Constant wetness is one of the ingredients snow mold needs to develop.
- Snow drifts or large piles created by shoveling your driveway and sidewalks increase the risk of snow mold. In spring, these drifts and piles melt more slowly, saturating the soil beneath—the perfect environment for snow mold.
- Fertilizing the lawn in late fall spurs grass growth, but if applied in the six weeks before a heavy snow or freeze, grass may still be green when it should be dormant. When green grass freezes or is blanketed with snow, the blades become soft and mushy, increasing the risk of mold development.
- Established lawns with heavy thatch (a thick layer of dead grass that settles at ground level) are prone to snow mold. Thatch keeps the soil from drying out and also supplies an abundance of organic matter where snow mold can develop.
Restoring a Lawn Afflicted with Snow Mold
Snow mold fungi stop growing once the temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees Fahrenheit and the soil dries out. At that point, rake away dead grass from the patches and reseed the spots with new grass seed. Applying a lawn fungicide at this time isn’t recommended—the damage is already done—and no new damage will occur until next winter or spring. The key to keeping your lawn lush and mold-free lies more in prevention than in fixing the damage after the fact.
Stopping Snow Mold Before It Starts
The best way to keep your lawn lush and healthy is to prevent snow mold from growing in the first place. The following steps will keep the fungi at bay.
- Avoid fertilizing within six weeks of the first expected snowfall in your area to allow your lawn to go dormant. Dormant grass blades are dry and dehydrated—far less hospitable to snow mold.
- Mow the lawn to a height of 1½ inches in the fall when grass turns yellow and stops growing, signs that it is going dormant.
- Rake up dry leaves before they can decompose on the lawn.
- Dethatch lawns with a thatch rake, such as Ames 15-inch Adjustable Thatch Rake (available from Amazon). The best way to control thatch is to rake it away two or three times a year, during your lawn’s active growing period in summer and in fall.
- Fill low spots in your yard with topsoil to encourage water to drain off rather than sit in those areas.
- Apply a preventative turf fungicide, such as Scotts DiseaseEx Lawn Fungicide (available from Amazon) in late fall, just before the first heavy snow is set to arrive. This acts as a barrier to freeze-tolerant snow mold.
RELATED: The Best Things You Can Do For Your Lawn This Fall
The First Disease of the Year
Your lawn was perfect last fall. You spent all summer tenderly caring for your grass.
You faithfully watered it during the hot, dry periods. You mowed at the right height, making sure you never removed more than 1/3 of the grass blade when you cut it. You contracted with a reputable lawn care services company to apply the right fertilizers and weed control products to make your lawn healthy and beautiful. You had the best lawn in the neighborhood and were darn proud of it.
As fall came, you made sure the leaves were removed as soon as possible, and you even invested in lawn aeration to improve rooting and keep the thatch layer at bay. When the first snows came, you were confident that your lawn was strong enough to survive the tortures of winter. The snow came, as it usually does, and turned your lawn white. You were not worried, as you knew you did everything you could possibly have done so that your lawn will be as green and lush in the spring as it was the previous fall. But, when spring arrives you look through your window at your grass and your’re mortified at the sight of your lawn.
There are large patches of blighted, straw-colored grass covering half of it and areas of the grass seem matted. This is Snow Mold lawn disease!
What is Snow Mold Lawn Disease?
Snow Mold lawn disease can infect most all types of grasses that must endure a period of freezing temperatures and snow cover. It is often the first disease of the year and may cause your lawn to have an unsightly appearance, especially after the snow melts. Snow Mold can even develop without snow cover. If it is cool, rainy, and overcast, then the disease can become active and affect the lawn.
Types of Snow Mold
There are two types of Snow Mold. One is Gray Snow Mold or Typhula Blight, and the other is Pink Snow Mold or Microdochium Patch. They have similar visual symptoms, but each affects the lawn in a different way. The control of either lawn disease may require a combination of methods. In severe, recurring cases, a combination of chemical, cultural, and biological controls may be required. In less severe cases, a light raking of the affected area may be the best answer.
Controlling Snow Mold Disease
Controlling either of the grass diseases is easy if the infection is not severe. A light raking of the matted area will loosen the grass and allow the new plants to grow. Be sure to rake lightly, as the ground is usually very wet and the existing grass can be easily raked up. In severe infestation, raking is also recommended, but on a larger scale. It is not advisable to use a power rake as it may also damage the existing grass.
Preventing Snow Mold Disease
Preventive maintenance before lawn repair is needed is usually the best answer when dealing with most diseases. This is true for Snow Mold. Follow a balanced fertilization program that provides the necessary nutrients at the appropriate times of year. Thatch management is another important key in Snow Mold prevention. Practice core aeration of your lawn at least once a year to keep thatch levels below 1/2″. Another important factor is mowing the grass short before winter. Cut the lawn to 1-1/2 to 2” at the last mowing. This should be a gradual process and not a one-time exercise. Lower the height a notch a week until the mower is set at 1-1/2 to 2”. This will prevent the turf from laying over on itself, increasing the chance of Snow Mold.
If You Have Snow Mold
If you do have an outbreak of Snow Mold, it is a good idea to reduce any piles of snow that may remain, especially in shady areas. The longer the snow remains the more moisture and cool temperatures are present. Applying a chemical disease control material to grass already damaged by Snow Mold will do little to change the severity or need for lawn renovation. Contact your local lawn care professional at Spring-Green to begin a fertilizer program and schedule core aeration for a healthy lawn.
Learn more about…
Spring Dead Spot
Brown Patch Treatments
Lawn Patch Ring Disease
LAWN CARE SIMPLIFIED – A Safe and Natural Approach
After the snow melts, you may find that your lawn is riddled with circles or patches of dead looking grass. It will look grey, tan, white or even pink. It could be that the grass is dead due to extremely severe winter conditions, or late fall damage by Grubs or Crane Fly larve, but it is more likely that you have snow mold.
Here is a severe case
Grey and Pink Snow Mold are lawn diseases that are usually related to winter conditions and snow cover – too little or too much. But pink snow mold can also affect Southern lawns when conditions are right (see below). Snow mold is encouraged when lawns are left too long over the winter, and nutrients and trace elements are lacking. Thatch conditions are also going to promote snow mold. If you over-fertilize in the fall, or time it wrong, you can cause too much tender late fall growth and this encourages snow mold too.
Some grasses are more susceptible to snow mold, but all grass types can get it. A properly mowed and watered, deep-rooted lawn, growing in a bio-active and nutritionally balanced soil is probably your best defense agains snow mold.
As we said, there are two types of snow mold – gray snow mold or (more severe) pink snow mold . Both of these diseases will appear as circular dead patches, often 3 -12 inches in diameter. Sometimes it is so severe that the patches all join together and cover most of the lawn. Upon closer inspection you would see fuzzy webbing or strands (mycelium) on top of the grass blades or at the very edges of the damaged spot.
Grey Snow Mold above
Grey snow mold damage is less severe than that of pink snow mold. The damage is primarily to the leaf blades of the grass only. Once lawns start to green up in the spring, and temperatures are staying in the mid 40s and above day and night, further damage to the lawn usually ceases. The mycelium will quickly dry out and and will be hard to find. The lawn will usually recover if it is healthy and deeply rooted.
TREATMENT FOR GREY SNOW MOLD
The best thing you can do for grey snow mold, aside from improving your soil aeration and bioactivity (we recommend using Aerify PLUS soil conditioner), is lightly fluff up the dead grass with a rake. This will allow it to dry more completely and will also allow the sunlight to reach the soil and promote new grass growth. A light fertilizing after the rest of the grass starts to green up may help recovery too. Use our All-In-One for LAWNS if you have it, or any fast acting fertilizer. Again, go light at this time. In the fall, make sure you cut short at the end of the year and handle any thatch during the season.
Pink Snow Mold above.
Pink snow mold remains active much longer than grey snow mold. It can continue to grow until temperatures get into the low 60’s. You will find pink/salmon colored mycelium at the outer edges. You can see this easily in the morning when there is dew on the ground. Pink snow mold damages the blades as well as the crowns of the grass. When the crowns, where both the blades and the roots emanate from, are damaged the grass may not recover.
Southern lawns can get pink snow mold, especially on golf course greens. All you need are temperatures in the low 30s and damp conditions.
Here is an up close view of pink snow mold.
As with the grey snow mold, you should lightly rake or fluff up the pink snow mold to allow air and sunlight to the soil. With this type you should be careful to not spread the disease by using the rake on the rest of the lawn. After you rake the pink snow mold you should clean your rake with some alcohol or an anti-bacterial soap.
Pink snow mold eventually stops on its own when temperatures are high enough. At that time it is a simple enough matter to simply spot seed the damaged areas.
TREATMENT FOR PINK SNOW MOLD
The general advice in handling bad pink snow mold infestations is to treat with a chemical fungicide, usually twice a week to 10 days apart. Since this site is dedicated to more natural solutions I would suggest trying a few organic solutions first.
Liquid Kelp (seaweed) and Humic Acids (bio-active carbon) contain numerous trace elements and bio-stimulants that can help a lawn recover from snow mold quickly. Using one or the other or both will provide benefits to the soil as well as the grass. Spraying liquid forms of these will work much quicker than applying powdered forms. A late fall application may work as a preventative too. Nature’s Magic is a 50/50 blend of these two amendments.
Compost Tea and Earthworm Castings Teas have been shown to help reduce most lawn diseases. A simple verison of how to make this tea to cover a large area of lawn would be to take a cup of compost or earthworm castings (you can usually find each in nurseries) and soak them for 24-36 hours in a five gallon bucket filled 2/3 or so with water. Stir often to get some air in the water or use an aerating device if you have one. Then simply strain and put the tea in a watering can or sprayer and soak the snow mold and the grass right around it.
Something else to try would be hydrogen peroxide- 1 cup in 2 gallons of water 2 or 3 times, perhaps 5 days apart. If it doesn’t kill the snow mold it should keep it from spreading. If you have any Cedar Yard Guard, that has anti-fungal properties so you can spray that on the snow mold in the same way as the hydrogen peroxide.
President of Nature’s Lawn & Garden, Inc
Snow Mold: What It Is & How to Treat It
- Mow Before the First Snow: Extra-long grass is a breeding ground for gray snow mold. Make your last cut of the growing season 1 to 11⁄2 inches shorter than usual (but be careful not to scalp the lawn).
- Don’t Let Leaves Pile Up: Because a thick layer of leaves creates a welcome environment for snow mold, use your mower to mulch leaves into your lawn.
- Dethatch: A thick thatch layer produces an ideal home for snow mold to develop. If your lawn’s thatch layer is greater than 3⁄4 inch thick, dethatch in the fall to help prevent snow mold from developing during the winter.
- Go Easy on Nitrogen: A fertilizer containing readily-available nitrogen is great for fast greening, but too much, especially late in the season, can invite snow mold. Instead, apply a slow-release lawn food like Scotts® Turf Builder® WinterGuard® Fall Lawn Food.
- Apply a Preventative Funcigide: While the appearance of snow mold in your lawn is completely dependent on the winter weather, if it has become almost an annual nuisance, you can help prevent it by applying Scotts® DiseaseEx™ Lawn Fungicide in the fall, after your last mowing and before the first significant snowfall.
- Don’t Let Snow Pile Up: Snow mold develops under snow cover. When clearing snow from sidewalks and driveways, avoid creating deep snow piles in the lawn that will take a long time to melt when the weather warms.
Deal With Snow Mold Effectively In A Way Most People Don’t Know
Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.
Why You Need a Vision
Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.
How to Create Your Life Vision
Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.
What Do You Want?
The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.
It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.
Some tips to guide you:
- Remember to ask why you want certain things
- Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
- Give yourself permission to dream.
- Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
- Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.
Some questions to start your exploration:
- What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
- What would you like to have more of in your life?
- Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
- What are your secret passions and dreams?
- What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
- What do you want your relationships to be like?
- What qualities would you like to develop?
- What are your values? What issues do you care about?
- What are your talents? What’s special about you?
- What would you most like to accomplish?
- What would legacy would you like to leave behind?
It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.
What Would Your Best Life Look Like?
Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.
A few prompts to get you started:
- What will you have accomplished already?
- How will you feel about yourself?
- What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
- What does your ideal day look like?
- Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
- What would you be doing?
- Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
- How are you dressed?
- What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
- What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
- Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.
It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next step. Give yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.
It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.
- What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
- What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
- What would you have needed to learn along the way?
- What important actions would you have had to take?
- What beliefs would you have needed to change?
- What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
- What type of support would you have had to enlist?
- How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
- What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?
Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.
It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.
Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com
Pink Snow Mold Control: How To Get Rid of Pink Snow Mold
Snow molds are fungi which usually occur when there is an extended period of snow cover on turf which takes longer to melt away, the turf underneath is affected and results in mold growth. When it comes to pink snow mold, once the snow actually does melt away, you are left with pink patches of turf or even slimy sticky pink mold on blades of grass.
The accumulation of pink fungal spores pile up on the leaves of infected grass plants, producing a pink cast on circular patches of matted grass. Usually only leaves are attacked, but under conditions favorable for disease development the fungus may kill the crowns and roots as well. What’s interesting about pink snow mold is that it doesn’t even really require snow to develop and can accumulate via icy or freezing temperatures without snow.
If you have discovered pink snow mold on your lawn, our DIY pink snow mold treatment guide will show you how to remove it with professional fungicides recommended by our lawn care experts.
Pink snow mold is an easy fungus to identify on your lawn because pink is not usually a color you would see on a lush green lawn. If you see pink on your grass blades, it’s very likely that it is because of pink snow mold. Pink snow mold symptoms will become more apparent in the springtime as the snow begins to melt at which point tan to bleached white patches generally a foot or less in diameter will be present with the edges appearing more pink in color.
Why is the mold pink? Mycelium is typically white but exposure to sunlight results in a pinkish matrix of mycelia and sporodochia. You may or may not see mycelium as well as pink to red sporodochia on dead plants.
Refer to the image above and our description to help you in identifying pink snow mold. If you are still not totally sure, you can contact us and we’ll help you in correctly ID’ing your issue.
Pink snow mold occurs for a number of reasons. One is if you have a lot of snow on your lawn for a long period of time, the mold tends to develop underneath the snow. Secondly, if you fertilize too late in the season and you have a lot of nitrogen on your lawn, this can also promote the presence of snow mold and thirdly, if you have a lot of thatch (over 2 inches of dead grass underneath your lawn) pink snow mold may develop
Where to Inspect
Walk your lawn and check where the pink snow mold has formed. Also, be aware of your yard’s grass type. Pink snow mold is a disease that may affect all cool-season turfgrasses, but appears to be most destructive to creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass on golf courses and residential lawns. Juvenile creeping bentgrass that are less than a year old after seeding are most vulnerable to the disease and likely to suffer the most lasting effects.
What To Look For
Matted down, crusty circular patches of grass that have a whitish-pink appearance.
Before handling any chemicals, we suggest wearing the proper safety equipment for the job to prevent chemicals from coming in contact with your eyes or skin. Gloves, safety goggles and long sleeved clothing should suffice. Our top recommendation to control necrotic ring spot is Headway G Fungicide. This product contains the active ingredient propiconazole and azoxystrobin which is a lethal combination in removing pink snow mold.
Step 1 – Measure and Apply
Pour a measured amount of the Headway granules into a spreader and begin applying to the affected areas in accordance with the instructions found on the fungicide label. The most important factor when treating this pink snow mold is to act quickly.You may have to re-apply fungicides a few times to provide continuous control of pink snow mold. Retreat if you begin to see symptoms again.
Once the pink snow mold has been taken care of, you can carry out a few maintenance tasks to ensure the mold doesn’t return during the cold season. Mowing your grass shorter before winter is recommended as longer grass makes it more likely for snow mold to take hold on a lawn. Mulch leaves in the fall to eliminate additional breeding ground. Also using a low-nitrogen fertilizer to feed your lawn is a good choice to reduce the chances of snow mold growth.
- Pink snow mold is a turf disease caused by fungal spores that are usually caused by snow development and the snow taking long to melt away and there is high amounts of moisture accumulating.
- Our top recommended fungicide to control necrotic ring spot is Headway granules. It is highly effective product and an affordable option.
- Once your lawn has been treated, keep pink snow mold away with a consistent lawn care and maintenance program which addresses moisture issues, cutting the grass short and applying fertilizer to enhance recovery.
As winter melts away into spring, things may start to reappear in your yard that was previously hidden by winter’s thick blanket of snow. You may rediscover that tool that was not put away before the first significant flurries, or just the welcome signs of spring as your perennial bulbs begin to push through the surface. An unwelcome sight, however, may be the appearance of a fungal lawn disease called snow mold.
Snow mold grows from the spores of two types of fungi… a gray mold called Typhula blight, and pink variety called Microdochium nivalis, (also known as Fusarium patch). These molds are responsible for causing the lawn disease which resembles a spider-web like white substance. Snow mold begins growing when temperatures start to warm enough for the fungi to thrive. The pink snow mold can flourish from 32 degrees up to 60 degrees, as long as your lawn is damp, while the gray mold can grow from about 32 degrees to 45 degrees fahrenheit.
Is Snow Mold Dangerous to Your Lawn?
Though snow mold can cause your lawn to look unattractive, the fungal growth is typically not a serious concern and will dry up as the weather warms and the sun dries out and kills the infected lawn. To accelerate this process and get rid of the snow mold earlier, there are several things you can do:
- You can spread out the snow mold with a rake (being careful to not damage the grass trying to grow). This will help get air flow to the infected area and dry it out faster.
- Once your lawn is dry enough you can mow it shorter than usual. Tall grass can retain more moisture, which contributes to the fungal growth. Continue mowing the lawn in this manner until you notice the mold is no longer growing.
Snow Mold Prevention
There are a few things you can do to try to prevent the unsightly growth of snow mold:
- In late fall be sure to mow your grass to a short height and then rake up and bag the grass clippings and any leaves that are collecting in your lawn. This organic matter can trap the moisture and create a perfect environment for the snow mold fungal growth to take off as the snow melts and temperatures get to the right levels.
- Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer in the fall if you have had issues with snow mold.
- If you have larger piles of snow in certain areas, it is a good idea to spread out the snow so that it melts more quickly and doesn’t retain the moisture as long in those spots.
Snow mold is not usually a serious concern, but it can sometimes persist into late summer and fall if the weather remains damp and cool enough. If this happens it can do more damage to your lawn. Years with earlier, deeper snows often result in more snow mold growth than the winters that are colder and bring less snow. This is because the early snow blankets the ground and protects the fungus from harsher temperatures.
Have you ever had snow mold in your lawn? How long did it last and what did you do about it?