Many of your lawns are looking stressed this year due to a fungus that is called {Snow Mold} and although we did have a heavy snow cover for a few days the disease has little or nothing to do with the snow that we received. Our flavor of fungus is Michrodochium Patch {Pink Snow Mold} and I have not seen it this bad in years. This fall and clear into December we had very little rain, in fact we had days and days of dry weather combined with a foggy/dewy type of mist. We also fertilize in late October, relying on average rainfall to move some of the nitrogen down into the root zone. That didn’t happen this year as rainfall was slight. What did happen was that the cool dry moisture combined with the nitrogen application created an excellent atmosphere for the pathogen {microdochium Nivale} to take hold thus creating the {Pink Snow Mold}.

Another reason that it is worse in some lawns than others is the type of grass that is in the lawn. Most lawns when established are Perennial Rye. After time other unwanted cool season grasses infiltrate and establish as the turf stresses. Bentgrass and Annual Blue Grass are the worst infiltrators and the most susceptible to the {Snow Mold}. Poor draining soils, shallow roots and compacted soils, culprits of a host of other problems also lead to molds, mildews and fungus. With all of this being said it’s usually not as bad as it looks mainly effecting the top growth of the grass plant not the crowns or the roots. Every year I see this especially in the Bentgrass that infiltrates the Rye. Thankfully it disappears much quicker than it develops as soon as we start to warm up in the spring and the grass produces new growth.


Symptoms – develops dark looking, pinkish/reddish rings or stress areas depending upon what type of grass that is affected. Rye lawns will look more blotched with less rings, Bent and Poa (Annual Blue Grass) lawns will develop a more ringed type of pattern.
Remedy - Contact Fungicides can be sprayed on lawns to limit and help them recover and are effective. The problem with spraying is that there are very few chemicals available for homeowner application as the EPA has removed most available remedies from the consumer shelf. However most lawns will be just fine using a more environmental cultural practice. Basically keeping lawns free of leaves, keeping turf from getting matted or too long and the matted/thatched areas should be raked so that air circulates into the snow mold and breaks it up. If you have a real problem with this another good cultural practice is to thatch, aerate and overseed your lawn. Depending upon what type of grass that is predominantly established in your yard, you may only need aeration, or you may need both thatching and aeration and then overseed. Give us a call and we can give you a consultation on exactly what you should do and how we can help.


Tim Barnes


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