What Is Snow Mold? How Do I Prevent It?

Kilgore Landscape Center understands the challenges your lawn faces, especially during the winter months when snow mold becomes a potential threat. Snow mold, a fungal disease affecting various grass types, can wreak havoc on your grass if left unchecked. The snowy conditions create an ideal environment for these fungi to thrive, leading to unsightly circular patches and potential damage to your grass. At Kilgore Landscape recognizes the importance of proper lawn care, especially in winter whether you're dealing with gray snow mold or pink snow mold.

Visit Kilgore Landscape’s store today to explore their range of landscaping products tailored to combat snow mold. Their staff is ready to provide expert advice and guidance on preventative measures to keep your lawn in top condition. Take proactive steps now to ensure a lush, green lawn come springtime. Trust Kilgore Landscape Center for all your winter lawn care needs – because a healthy lawn starts with the right care, even in the snow.

What is snow mold? 

Snow mold is a type of fungal disease that affects all kinds of grass and grass during the winter months when there is snow cover. It typically occurs in places with snowfall that lasts for a long period of time, creating an environment for the growth of snow mold fungi in the grass. There are two main types of snow mold: gray snow mold and pink snow mold. Gray snow mold appears as circular patches of matted and straw-colored grass, while pink snow mold appears as circular patches with a pinkish tint. These fungi thrive in cool, moist conditions beneath the snow, feeding on the grass blades and causing damage to the grass. Without the proper soil landscaping products and care for your grass, snow mold could be an issue during the winter. However, there are many preventative steps to help you take care of your lawn this winter. 

Types of snow mold

There are different types of snow mold that can affect your lawn after winter. In an article written by The University of Illinois on snow mold they explain the different types of snow mold and how they affect your grass after winter. The gray mold and pink mold are different types of mold and slightly different. 

Gray Mold

Gray snow mold is a common lawn disease that occurs in cool, humid conditions during winter when the ground is covered with snow for a long period of time. This fungal disease primarily affects cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass. Gray snow mold typically shows up as circular or irregularly shaped patches of matted and straw-colored grass in areas where the snow has melted. The turf where the mold is will show a grayish-white color, that resembles a cobweb, on the surface of the grass. Gray snow mold is more prevalent in places with long periods of snow cover, creating a moist place under the snow where the fungus can grow and thrive. Finding a soil landscaping product that helps drain and prevent this type of mold is important. 

Pink Mold 

Pink snow mold is another type of snow mold that affects different kinds of grass. Like gray snow mold, pink snow mold occurs during winter months, especially when there is snow cover. It can impact cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass. Pink snow mold normally looks like circular or irregularly shaped patches of discolored and matted grass in areas where snow has melted. Unlike gray snow mold, the affected turf may exhibit a pinkish tint, which gives this disease its name. The pink coloration is often more noticeable in the presence of moist conditions.

How to prevent Snow Mold? 

While snow mold isn't something you want, there are many preventative measures to help make sure you don’t get snow mold this next winter. The University of Minnesota wrote an article explaining the steps to help prevent snow mold. There are 8 easy steps to follow to help your grass this next winter:  

1. Lawn Preparation:

Begin by preparing your lawn in the fall before the first snowfall of winter. Make sure that the grass is well-maintained and healthy, a strong and healthy grass is less susceptible to snow mold. This includes regular mowing at the appropriate height for your grass type and avoiding excessively high mowing late in the season, so your grass can grow strong before the snow.

2. Thatch Management:

Thatch, a layer of dead grass and organic material on the soil surface, can create an environment that can help the growth of snow mold. Regular dethatching, particularly in the fall, helps reduce thatch buildup and promotes better air circulation around the grass blades. Removing leaves and other buildup on top of the grass and soil landscaping products will help the ground dry out more preventing the snow mold. 

3. Fertilization:

Carefully manage fertilization practices, especially in the late fall. Avoid applying excessive nitrogen fertilizers, as lush and succulent grass growth is more susceptible to snow mold. Instead, use a balanced fertilizer with lower nitrogen content in the fall to promote root growth without stimulating excessive top growth. This fertilizer helps strengthen the grass making it grow back better in the spring while also helping prevent snow mold. 

4. Aeration:

Aerating the soil in the fall improves soil drainage and reduces compaction, creating an environment less favorable for snow mold fungi. Core aeration allows air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the soil, promoting a healthier turf.

5. Snow Removal (If Possible):

Promptly remove snow from your lawn after each snowfall. This prevents the creation of a prolonged, moist environment that favors snow mold development. Use a snow blower or shovel to clear the snow, and avoid piling it in one location, as this can contribute to localized snow mold problems.

6. Improve Air Circulation:

Enhance air circulation within the lawn by pruning overhanging branches and removing obstacles that may trap moisture. Making sure you have soil landscaping products that can help air out the extra moisture in the grass from the snow. Good air movement helps to dry out the grass and reduces the risk of snow mold.

7. Fungicide Application:

Fungicides are pesticides that kill or prevent the growth of fungi and their spores. In places with a history of snow mold, consider applying fungicides preventively in the fall before the snow comes. Fungicides can provide an additional layer of protection against snow mold by preventing fungal growth. 

8. Monitor Weather Conditions:

Stay informed about weather conditions in your area. Long periods of snow cover, along with moist and cool temperatures, create ideal conditions for snow mold to grow. During these times of intense cold weather along with snow, taking care of your lawn to help prevent the possibility of snow mold in your yard.

In conclusion, preventing snow mold requires a proactive and multifaceted approach to lawn care. By implementing proper cultural practices, such as lawn preparation, thatch management, and aeration, combined with timely snow removal and, if necessary, fungicide applications, you can significantly reduce the risk of snow mold and maintain a healthy and vibrant lawn throughout the winter months. Regular monitoring and adjustments based on weather conditions will enhance your lawn's resilience against this fungal disease, snow mold. Reach out to us at Kilgore Landscape Center if you need good soil landscaping products to help your grass grow strong and help prevent snow mold.