When the warmer temperatures of spring return, it’s not uncommon to find gray or pink web-like fungal growths on your lawn. Snow mold is a big problem for Washington lawns in the spring, causing a decline in health for your grass and even plant death. Winter kill, caused by snow mold, can set your lawn up for an unhealthy year of constant struggle. Here are a few tips on snow mold identification, treatment, and prevention here in Washington.
The first step to controlling and preventing snow mold in your Washington lawn is early snow mold identification. By identifying snow mold early, you enable yourself to act quickly, reducing the likelihood of severe turf damage. There are two different types of snow mold to watch for: gray snow mold and pink snow mold. Both types of snow mold form in matted grass under the cover of snow during the winter. It isn’t until the snow melts that you’ll see the true extent of your snow mold infection. The magnitude of your lawn problem depends on which type of snow mold you identify in your lawn.
Gray snow mold is definitely the better of the two fungi. This type of snow mold rarely results in irreparable lawn damage and is fairly easy to get rid of. If you have gray or white web-like growths on your wet, matted grass, then it’s most likely gray snow mold. These circular patches of mold are typically ringed by a border of gray mycelium and are usually between 6-12 inches in diameter. Gray snow mold is most common in the early spring when temperatures are still cool and the lawn is consistently damp from snowmelt and dew.
Pink snow mold, also known as fusarium patch, is much worse than gray snow mold. While gray snow mold rarely kills more than just the leaves of your grass, pink snow mold goes after the crown and roots of the grass. In the end, you’re looking at extensive turf damage and a lot of repair work. Be on the lookout in the early spring for 1-8 inch patches of water-soaked grass. These patches turn gray, light brown, reddish-brown, or copper-colored as the fungus develops. Pink snow mold gets its name from the ring of fuzzy pink mycelium around the edge of the affected grass.
Once you identify the type of snow mold in your lawn, it’s time to treat it. The first thing to remember is that, as a fungus, snow mold relies on water and excess moisture to grow and spread. Without that excess moisture, the fungus typically can’t survive.
For gray snow mold, the treatment is pretty easy. Simply rake the affected area to break up the excess thatch and open up the area for better air circulation. This helps the grass dry out quicker, effectively eliminating the mold. After that, make sure to only water your lawn in the morning, allowing more time throughout the day for the excess water to evaporate.
For pink snow mold, you may need to get more aggressive. Immediately rake the affected area to promote better airflow. Make sure to get pink snow mold to dry out as quickly as possible. The longer it infects your lawn, the more it’ll spread. Once the mold has cleared up, check how much damage has been done. Repair and reseed the affected areas.
The real key to snow mold control is prevention. There aren’t many types of fungicides that work on snow mold once it’s already formed, so cultural approaches and consistent care should be your main focus. By keeping your lawn healthy throughout the year, you boost the grass’ immune system, making it stronger and more resilient against threats like snow mold, lawn pests, weeds, and other diseases.
Invest in a year-round lawn care program to ensure your lawn gets the right fertilizers at the right times of the year. Your lawn requires different nutrients and fertilizer approaches in the spring, summer, and fall. By providing it with the perfect fertilization schedule, you’ll be setting your lawn up for success. Keep pests and weeds out of your lawn throughout the year to reduce stress and lawn damage. Again, this boosts your lawn’s immune system and makes it stronger. It’s a great idea to dethatch and aerate your lawn in the fall. This reduces thatch in your yard and aids in drainage. Snow mold loves excess moisture and too much thatch, so these services are essential to snow mold prevention.
Snow mold prevention becomes most important in the fall. In preparation for your lawn going dormant, you’ll need to perform some general maintenance. Rake and/or remove all the leaves from your lawn before the first snowfall. Snow mold grows under leaf piles in the winter. Avoid using fertilizers with heavy nitrogen at the end of the fall as this causes the grass to continue growing and feeds the fungus. Finally, continue mowing your lawn until the grass has completely stopped growing. Shorter grass means less matting, less matting means a less hospitable environment for snow mold to grow.
Snow mold identification and prevention can be tough, especially when you work all day. Luckily, the experts here at Colonial Lawn & Garden have the experience and services necessary to help you out. Our lawn care program is the best way to keep your lawn healthy all year long, making it more resistant and less likely to develop snow mold in the first place. Combine this with services like aeration and dethatching to give your lawn a huge boost in its health.
Let’s get started protecting your lawn from nasty lawn diseases like snow mold. Call us at (509) 371-1655 or request a FREE estimate here. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and check out our blog for all the best tips for your Washington property.