Many Minnesotans are anxiously anticipating Spring, quicker commutes and warmer temperatures. Landscaping is our game. We can’t wait for the ground to thaw so that we can bring life to our clients’ plans that we’ve been working on this winter. Although, the thaw can sometimes be bittersweet if obnoxious gray circles appear on your lawn.
These gray circles can be attributed to snow mold. Snow mold loves compact snow for an extended period of time. The below zero temperatures are in the homeowners’ favor (if you want to pull something positive from the Polar Vortex) because snow mold is not fond of the extreme cold. Just hope that come spring the snow melts at a fast rate as snow mold thrives in 30-40 degree temperatures under snow cover.
- Continue to mow until the first snowfall. Long grasses are attractive breeding ground for mold. Keep your grass a little shorter than usual before you but your lawnmower away for the winter or say goodbye to your lawn crew for the season.
- Don’t let leaves accumulate. Amass of leaves creates moisture and an excellent home for snow mold. Rake and remove or leaf it and reap it.
- Till the snow to reduce compaction by making snow sculptures, play fetch with your Fido or let the kids build snow castles outside.
- Applications of Nitrogen can encourage snow mold. Never apply nitrogen after the first frost and use a low-nitrogen, slow- release formula during the latter part of the year.
- Nature is amazing in how resilient it can be on its own. If the temperatures cooperate (>45 degrees) and snow melts, gray snow mold damage will likely recover on its own.
- Encourage the recovery process after the snowmelt by lightly raking damaged areas to eliminate trapped moisture. If necessary reseed the area as conditions allow.
- Look at a few of your winter maintenance routines if snow mold is a reoccurring nuisance to your landscape. Don’t pile or push snow to one area, spread it out to reduce the concentration of snow compaction. Does the snowmelt have somewhere to go? Ensure that your property allows for proper drainage to eliminate unnecessary moisture. Strategically incorporate natural wind barriers where snow accumulates to again reduce the concentration of the snow compaction.
More information about gray snow mold and different snow mold diseases can be found on UMassAmherst site.