Snow mold is the name for several species of fungi that grow in colder conditions. Many types of mold grow best in warm, dark, and wet places, but snow mold thrives off of particular climates. Although removal is difficult to accomplish, preventative measures will help to keep the growth at bay.
Species of Snow Mold
While more than two species of snow mold exist, the most common types in Maryland are gray snow mold and pink snow mold. Gray snow mold, or Typhula incarnata, develops when snow covers the ground for several weeks. It has the appearance of straw and is colored white to gray and may have webbing. It will dissipate in the spring when the temperature rises but reseeds in the late fall.
Pink snow mold, which is also known as Fusarium patch or Microdochium nivale, does not need snow to do damage to the lawn. From 60° F and down, this pink-to-gray fungus spreads in circular patches. Even if it becomes dormant later on, it can revive in May, depending on the weather.
Pink and gray snow molds might not gobble up the entire lawn in one fell swoop, but once the disease hits, it can be difficult to make it go away. While it is dormant, the patches it has ruined may take longer to grow green again.
The Perfect Growing Conditions
Snow mold in Maryland will not necessarily come out every winter. However, when snow falls on unfrozen ground, such mold can germinate and spread across the lawn. Prolonged periods of wet and cold conditions can also heighten the spread of the spores. Thankfully, several preventative measures can help detain their conquest.
A high level of moisture and a low supply of oxygen can encourage the growth of snow mold in Maryland. One of the tasks to do in fall lawn care is to cut the grass short enough so that it can stay clean of fungus and other diseases. Apply fertilizer before the first frost, and avoid adding too much nitrogen to the soil, which also inflames snow mold. Keep people and animals from treading too heavily on the snow and distribute shoveled snow across the lawn so its weight does not pile in one area. For a pristine lawn year-round with no fungal surprises come spring, get a professional lawn care company to take care of the grass for you.
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