With the arrival of winter, some lawn owners may become concerned about keeping their grass alive and well. There are certain types of grass that can tolerate constant low temperatures and others that cannot. If you would like a preview into the different types of grass and their characteristics, feel free to visit the following article: Types of Grass for Your Lawn. Still, there is another issue that may present itself after this season is over, and that is snow mold.
As expected, this type of mold is prominent in colder regions, specifically in states that fall in the snow belt. But, they can also be found in some southern states, given the right climate. If you experience significant snowfall, then your grass may be vulnerable to this lawn disease.
Snow mold is a type of fungus that causes patches of discolored and damaged grass. One of the issues with snow mold is that it usually goes unnoticed until the early spring when the snow begins to melt. For this reason, it can spread for a decent amount of time before being treated.
Even though cool-season grasses are more susceptible to snow mold, it is important to note that all types of grass can fall victim. That is why the key to handling most, if not all, threats to your grass is to maintain a healthy and robust lawn. For tips on how to do so, check out this article: How to Get Lawn Maintenance Right.
To know how to treat snow mold, in particular, you should first learn how to identify it on your lawn. Here is a description of the two types and what they look like, along with how they behave in grass.
Gray Mold (Typhula Blight)
As the name suggests, this type of mold has a grayish color. It is less harmful because most of the damage is to the blades instead of the grass itself. Because of this, it is easier for grass to recover afterward. It can spread anywhere between 6 and 12 inches in diameter and can survive in hot summer months.
Pink Mold (Fusarium Patch)
Similar to gray mold, the appearance of pink mold is reflected by its name. The color can range from white-pink to a rustic red-brown shade. It can also survive warmer temperatures.
Yet, this type of mold is far more harmful than its counterpart. Instead of only attacking the blades, pink snow mold destroys the roots and crowns of grass. Also, it can remain active for a more extended period of time. Therefore, it is much more difficult for grass to recover from this type of mold. In terms of size, the diameter is usually less than 12 inches.
Treating Snow Mold – How to Restore the Green
As previously mentioned, one of the best ways to protect your lawn from harmful intruders is to ensure that it is adequately taken care of. But there are still other steps you can take to eliminate the threat of snow mold.
Tip #1: Be Prepared
Taking preventive measures is crucial to treating this lawn fungus. This means applying lawn fungicide to your grass in the fall before snowfall can occur. Below are a few products that are available for purchase at a reasonable price.
- Granules Fungus Control for Lawns
- Comes with 10 pounds of fungicide at the price of $16.97. It provides weatherproof protection and can be used for a variety of lawn diseases.
- Dr. Earth Disease Control Fungicide
- 32 ounces of fungicide that can cover up to 5000 square feet. It is safe for pets and comes at the price of $16.98.
If you apply fungicide after snow mold has already appeared on your lawn, it will provide very little assistance, as the damage has already been done. For those who still find snow mold on their lawn or did not apply fungicide in the fall, the next best option is to rake the damaged area and reseed them.
Tip #2: Be Generous With Your Mower
Another preventive measure you can take is mowing your lawn shorter than usual. Some types of grass can tolerate being cut short more than others. But since longer grass is more susceptible to snow mold, trimming your lawn shorter will lower the chances of this disease manifesting itself.
It is recommended that you cut your grass about one inch shorter than normal. You must be careful not to cut your grass too short, though.
Tip #3: Keep an Eye Out for Thatch
Dethatching is also an important step to take when taking care of your lawn. All types of grass may not need to be dethatched, as a certain amount of thatch is healthy for a lawn. But if it is more than ½ an inch in thickness, it should be removed.
There are multiple ways to dethatch a yard, and one way is by using a dethatching rake. This tool is recommended for those with less significant amounts of thatch. For lawns with a substantial amount of thatch, verticutters will do the job.
Most lawns should only be dethatched a few times a year. It would be best if you did not have a routine for when to dethatch, as it ultimately depends on how much grows. Also, dethatching too much can damage your grass, so try to keep it to a minimum.
?: The best time to dethatch is early spring for cool-season grasses and early summer for warm-season grasses. This time of year is when both types experience the most growth.
Snow mold can be a hassle to deal with, but getting a head start by planning ahead will save you from unnecessary stress. Having to restore grass after months of cold weather is enough to deal with. Why not make lawn maintenance easier by stopping future issues from occurring?
There’s nothing better than a healthy green lawn, and keeping these tips in mind will put your lawn on the fast track to success.
Frequently Asked Questions – What is Snow Mold?
Is snow mold dangerous?
In some ways, yes – snow mold can be dangerous. Not only can it damage your lawn, but it can cause harm to people. It is known to trigger both allergies and asthma attacks.
Will snow mold return annually?
Although it is not annual like some weeds are, it has the potential to return after being eliminated. This still depends on how much snowfall a region sees. If there is little to none, then the chances of snow mold returning are slim. It is also less likely in properly maintained lawns, so it is crucial to take the right steps before winter arrives.