You’ve heard the old saying, April showers bring May flowers, right? Well, they also bring snow mold! As the snow melts away every spring, your lovely lawn is vulnerable to an unsightly fungus. This is especially common if you live in an area that gets heavy snowfall and your lawn is a cool-season grass, such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue or tall fescue. Learning everything you need to know about snow mold will help you spot and address it this spring, or at the very least, prevent it next year.
So, What is Snow Mold?
Put simply, snow mold is a fungal lawn disease that occurs in the spring after the snow melts. It comes in two forms: pink fungus (potentially more damaging), and gray fungus.
It most commonly occurs if the first large snow falls on ground that hasn’t yet frozen. This creates a perfect kind of blanket between grass and snow for fungus to grow from the spores that lay rather dormant throughout the rest of the season. This can be especially damaging if that area between snow and ground stays around the same temperature for a long time because it creates an ideal environment for the mold to grow. In the end, snow mold can cause small patches of grass to die and, because of its fungal qualities, it can set off allergies for some.
The Signs You May Have Snow Mold
It won’t be too difficult to spot snow mold when you have it. It usually starts to appear with small, straw-colored patches of grass that have a cobweb-like goo on them (this is the fungus). You’ll usually be able to tell by the color if you have pink (pink, white, or tan) or gray (white or gray) snow mold.
Another sign of the fungal presence is that your allergy symptoms are back. If allergies are a constant bother for you indoors, try one of these 10 ways to make them less bothersome.
How to Treat Snow Mold
The good news is that snow mold usually takes care of itself because it dies as temperatures increase (gray mold dies at about 45 degrees F and pink mold at about 60 degrees F.) The other good news is that the effects of snow mold aren’t particularly extreme. If you want to get rid of it faster:
- Mow the lawn as usual because tall grass is a great breeding ground for mold
- Gently rake over any straw-colored circles to help dry out the area faster.
- Hold off on putting chemicals on the lawn because they aren’t necessary if the grass heals itself.
How to Prevent Snow Mold
In some ways, this one is out of your hands because it depends on what you can’t control: the weather. However, there are some lawn fungicides that you can apply in late fall. Also, take pristine care of your lawn before the first snow falls by clearing all debris and keeping grass cut short. And, be sure to follow these additional tips for keeping your lawn healthy through winter.