Knowing if you have snow mold
New England winters can be a friend or foe depending on who you are. For myself, I love the snow as it means skiing, building a snowman with my young ones, and cozying up by a nice warm fire with a good book. Snow to grasses can cause Grey Snow Mold (Typhula blight). The disease occurs when there is snow on lawns for a long period of time. Grey Snow Mold can infect any and every lawn. Symptoms appear when snow has melted as circular patches from 1 -3 feet in diameter of straw colored greyish turf. (See Pic 1 below)
To help reduce Grey Snow Mold, you should clean all debris from lawn prior to the first snowfall, and mow the lawn slightly shorter for the last mowing. If Grey Snow Mold appears in early Spring, lightly rake out the grey matted down areas and apply a good balanced fertilizer to help grow the disease out.
Pink Snow Mold (Microdochium nivale) is slightly different. Pink Snow Mold does not require any snow to present itself in turf. Pink Snow Mold occurs when there are spores in a pink matrix of mycelium and sporodochia in moist and sunny conditions.
This disease can infect almost all grass types and can be seen anytime there are cool, wet periods for an extended amount of time. Symptoms will appear in less than 8 inch diameter circles and gets its name from fluffy white mycelium with a pinkish tint. (See Pic 2 above) If Pink Snow Mold appears on your lawn, simply rake out lightly and apply a good balanced fertilizer to jump start lawn.
* All photos courtesy of Umass Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. All rights reserved.