ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Types of Snow Mold on Lawns

Updated on July 1, 2016
Frank Sturm profile image

Frank Sturm considers himself an avid New England adventurer and has 15 years of experience in the lawn care industry.

Introducing Snow Molds

Your lawn has been hibernating all winter, itching for the snow to melt and the ground to thaw. Now it's spring, the last traces of snow have disappeared, the ground is soft and your grass is suddenly ready to spring back to life.

Um, not quite yet. Do you jump out of bed every morning and feel instantly ready to take on the day? You might. But many people need at least a few minutes to adjust to their surroundings. Your lawn acts the same way. It just takes a little longer for it to wake up.

In the spring, many cool-season lawns contain snow mold or variations of the disease. Although your lawn hibernates during the winter months, diseases don't rest. Pathogens like snow mold can thrive. Every type of snow mold is classified as psychrophilic or cold-loving diseases. They thrive in wet weather and mainly under snow cover, which provides the diseases with a dark, humid environment to develop. More so, the packed snow increases the diseases' contact with grass blades.

You will usually see snow molds as the snow recedes in the spring. You may also notice it if you have periods of warm weather in the winter.
You will usually see snow molds as the snow recedes in the spring. You may also notice it if you have periods of warm weather in the winter. | Source

Pink Snow Mold

For 3 to 4 months your lawn has secretly taking a beating. Whether it was from frost, snow, trapped water, the lack of nutrients or foot traffic, the grass blades are worn down. It can also feel the wrath of a disease such as pink snow mold or its relative Microdochium Patch.

Occurrence: Pink snow mold can infect all cool-season grasses; although it appears usually on Creeping Bentgrass and golf courses, according to Purdue University and UMass Amherst. The disease stays dormant in warm, dry weather as fungal mycelium (spores) in thatch and soil. It then develops in cold, wet weather, under snow cover and when temperatures are between 30 and 60 degrees. Temps, however, can be colder. When activated, this wet-looking mycelium appears tangled around the edges of the circular snow mold patches.

Symptoms: As the snow melts and temperatures rise, you may see parts of your lawn appear to be faded out. When you look closer you may also see spots of tan or white matted grass that look glossy or wet. Pink mycelium or strands may be visible along the borders of the diseased areas. Often, this disease spreads into each other and it is difficult to discern its distinct circular nature.

Cultural Controls: Some lawns are very susceptible to pink snow mold because of the variety of grasses it contains. In this case, it might be too economically unfeasible and downright impractical to replace your entire lawn to prevent the disease. Who does that anyway?

Instead, to manage pink snow mold avoid late season high nitrogen applications and distribute a little more potassium to strengthen the roots. (Most soil's in the northeast United States already have sufficient amounts of potassium unless an external source has leached nutrients from it.) Some lawn and landscaping companies may apply a high amount of nitrogen to their customer's lawns on their last application. They believe this will keep grass lush and green longer and help it recover quicker in the spring. According to studies, this technique may actually promote snow molds and weaken turf over the long run.

Although difficult to see, both pink and gray snow mold and  Microdochium patch will appear matted  when snow recedes.
Although difficult to see, both pink and gray snow mold and Microdochium patch will appear matted when snow recedes. | Source

Has your lawn ever been infected with snow molds?

See results

Microdochium Patch

Occurrence: This disease occurs in conditions similar to pink snow mold. Yet, unlike pink snow mold, Microdochium does not need snow cover to develop. It can occur in the fall and spring during wet weather between the temperatures of 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Like pink snow mold, this disease mainly affects annual bluegrasses and bentgrasses but can infect all cool season turf.

Symptoms: This disease may look a little different than pink snow mold. Similar in diameter, Micrdochium may appear gray or red-brown, water soaked and be surrounded by a darker ring.

Cultural Controls: Prevent Microdochium Patch by distributing less nitrogen on your grass later in the year. Instead, apply less nitrogen and a little more potassium to strengthen roots. Ensure your soil is not to alkaline.

Gray Snow Mold

Some lawns are infected with gray snow mold, which is slightly different than pink snow mold and Microdochium Patch. Like the other two diseases, you should treat gray snow mold in the same way.

Occurrence: Gray snow mold usually needs excessive amounts of snow cover and favorable, freezing weather conditions to thrive. North Carolina State University suggests at least 60 days of prolonged snow for disease development; although, other studies suggest shorter time periods. The disease will go dormant in the heat in the form of survival structures that rest in the thatch and soil and reappear in the fall and winter. Smaller patches can also coalesce to form large areas of turf that appear bleached.

Symptoms/Appearance: As snow recedes, the mold is gray or yellow/straw colored and shaped like a circle. The circle can be a few inches to a few feet in diameter. Grass is matted down and gray and white mycelium are present near the edges of the patches. When grass dies, the wet looking mycelium will disappear, but the grass will remain a silver or gray color.

Cultural Controls: Like other snow molds, gray snow mold favorites the right environmental conditions. Excessive nitrogen applications in late fall, poor mowing habits and large amounts of thatch contribute to the disease. Apply less nitrogen in late fall, cut your lawn at about 2 1/2 inches and remove all leaves. Aerating can also help prevent snow molds because it helps water dissipate on the soil's surface.


*** In the spring I will provide better pictures of the diseases. If you have your own, you are more than welcome to share!***

Pink Snow Mold and Microdochium Patch References

n.d. (09, 09). Microdochium patch (fusarium patch, pink snow mold). Retrieved from http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r785101811.html

Jung, D. G., & Campbell-Nelson, K. (2010, 10).Alternatives to pcnb for snow mold control?. Retrieved from http://extension.umass.edu/turf/fact-sheets/alternatives-pcnb-snow-mold-control

Latin, R. (n.d.). Pink snow mold and microdochium patch. Retrieved from http://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP-102-W.pdf

Tredway, L. P., Wilkerson, G. G., Lassiter, B. R., Reynolds, J. J., & Buol, G. S. (2011, 04 04).Microdochium patch (pink snow mold) . Retrieved from http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/diseases/pink_snow_mold.aspx

n.d. (n.d.). Pink snow mold and fusarium patch. Retrieved from http://plantscience.psu.edu/research/centers/turf/extension/factsheets/managing-diseases/pink-snow-mold

Gray Snow Mold References

Center for Turfgrass Science. (n.d.). Gray snow mold. Retrieved from http://plantscience.psu.edu/research/centers/turf/extension/factsheets/managing-diseases/gray-snow-mold

Evans, K., Frank, E., Gunnell, J., Beddes, T., & Moulton (Wall), A. (01, 2008). Snow mold on turfgrass. Retrieved from http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/snow-mold08.pdf

Latin, R. (n.d.). Gray snow mold. Retrieved from http://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP-101-W.pdf

Tredway, L. P., Wilkerson, G. G., Lassiter, B. R., Reynolds, J. J., & Buol, G. S. (2011, 07 03). Gray snow mold. Retrieved from http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/diseases/Gray_Snow_Mold.aspx

© 2014 Frank Sturm

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Marina 

      3 years ago

      I simply want to say I'm very new to wbleog and definitely liked you're web-site. Very likely I’m likely to bookmark your blog post . You certainly come with superb articles. Many thanks for sharing your web-site.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)