Snow mold. Is that a real thing? Can it really happen? How bad is it?
Snow mold sounds like one of those diseases in fairy tales, meant to scare little kids but a big joke to the adults. But, unfortunately, it’s a real thing and can cause bare and brown spots on your lawn as the snow melts and reveals the green grass below.
However, snow mold is not green. It is usually pink or white, the pink being the more serious of the two. It is a fungus that only becomes active as the snow melts and the temperature hovers in the 32° to 45° range. It can still bloom up to about 60°, though, and can spread through the wet grass as the snow melts. It will cause the grass to die when it’s blooming, leaving brown patches of dead grass to be dealt with.
What Dangers Does the Not So Fun(gus) Bring?
Winter brings on many kinds of mold infestations, both inside and outside. Mold can harm your health, so preventing and treating mold is very important. Part of the problem is our habits as it gets colder. We want to be warm, so we use fireplaces, furnaces, and space heaters to change our environment. Unfortunately, where the warmth meets the cold and damp is where mold starts.
The pink and white versions are molds (fungus). They can cause an allergy response in people. Grass infected with the grayish-white snow mold can recover, as this version only infects the grass blades. If, however, you see the pink or pinkish-white version, it also infects the roots, and the grass won’t recover.
You will have to rake and dig it out and start over on that patch. Or, you can call your expert landscaping friends at Divine Lawns. They know what to do about snow mold and can get your lawn back to the beautiful emerald blanket it’s supposed to be.
Snow mold usually occurs in lawns covered by snow for long periods. Although the cold weather isn’t consistent from year to year, Kansas will often have long periods of snow with mild winter weather, the perfect growing medium for snow mold.
Some types of grass seem to be more susceptible, but your Divine Lawns gardening and lawn care partners will know which grass will prove more resistant.
Prevention is Protection
- Mow your grass, slightly shorter than usual, during those last few mowings before winter sets in. How short should your grass be before winter? Your lawn care experts will probably cut it to about 2 ½ to 3 inches. If it’s too short, the lawn might not get the nutrients it needs to survive winter and go into a shocking state. It will take a while to recover after that!
- Drainage is essential in the prevention of snow mold. Remember, it likes to be wet while the temperature is rising.
- Some lawn experts recommend a fungicide over the lawn before the first snow. You may be a little hesitant about that, as there have been some products in the news in the last few years that can cause problems for people. Your Divine experts will work with you to choose one that won’t cause problems to you or your family.
- The run-off from the melting snow will probably have fungicide in it. If available in your area, using a fungicide that can break down into non-harmful parts will better you and the environment.
- Raking leaves and removing them is better for your lawn than letting them hang around in big piles. Water builds up under the piles of leaves, and by the time the snow flies, the damage is done. You can probably expect molds to be growing there when your lawn is finally clear of snow.
- Snow, when shoveled or pushed into piles on your lawn, can do the same kind of damage that piles of leaves can do since piles of snow are denser and take longer to melt. Many home gardeners find that they have bands of brown right next to the driveways or walkways because the snow is piled up during shoveling or snow-blowing. It takes longer to melt when there are piles and provides the medium for snow mold growth as the temperatures rise in the spring.
You might get tired of seeing the patches of brown grass or pink or grey mold. Please resist the urge to apply fungicide or fertilizer; they can make things worse. Instead, your friends at Divine Lawns will know that raking up the brown patches and reseeding will do the most to help your lawn recover.
Mold in your home needs quick and decisive treatment as well. The increase in heat and insulation means that the air might not move as much, so ventilation is essential to keep the air moving. Closing our vents and boosting insulation is also suitable for keeping warm but great for starting mold growth, where the warm and cold and damp meet.
Keeping moisture to a minimum is also essential; a dehumidifier might be needed to do this job. And, last, if you do see mold growing inside your home, call a professional to deal with it. Home molds grow fast and can cause problems before you are even aware that they’re there.
If your family members start showing symptoms of allergy – sneezing, runny nose, but seem better outside or in other places – you might already have some in your home. Mold sensitivities can be dangerous to the health of your family.
Your lawn will recover from the snow mold, but it’s an ongoing problem. It seems to be gone once all the brown patches have regrown. Don’t let it fool you! It is still there, waiting in the soil, dormant till the ideal conditions occur again.
Winter will come again, and snow mold will wait. Then, spring will start warming the air and the soil, and the snow will melt, and there it will be again. Snow mold! You know what that means.
Call the professionals at Divine Lawns, and let them take care of it. Then, you and your lawn will be much happier – and Divine!