White or Gray Matted Web-Like Grass? It’s Snow Mold!

Gray Snow Mold

There are two types of Snow Mold that can develop on residential lawns, Pink and Grey. Although all grasses are susceptible to the diseases, they are most common on bluegrass, ryegrass, bentgrass and fescues. Pink Snow Mold, also called Microdochium Patch and Gray Snow Mold, also called Typhula Blight.

Although they are both associated with snow cover, Gray Snow Mold requires at least 60 days of snow cover for it to develop. Both types of Snow Mold are most severe when snow falls on unfrozen turf, but Pink Snow Mold can occur without snow cover during cool (less than 60 degrees) weather that is wet and cloudy.

Identifying Pink and Gray Snow Mold

Gray Snow Mold

Symptoms develop under the snow and become evident as it melts. This lawn disease appears in circular to irregular-shaped patches that can grow as large as 3 feet in diameter. The grass is covered with a white or gray fungal growth and the grass blades appear matted together. In severe cases, large sections of grass blades can be damaged and will take a long time to recover.

Pink Snow Mold

This disease appears in roughly circular-shaped patch that can range from a couple of inches to about a foot in diameter. The disease presents as a white patch with a pinkish ring on the outer border of the patch. The grass blades appear matted and look is if they are glued together. As thee patches dry out, they will feel hard to the touch.

How to Control and Prevent Snow Mold

Both diseases overwinter as spores in the patch layer, so reducing thatch levels is very important. Fall core aerations will help to reduce the thatch levels and improve the health of the turf by developing better root systems and reducing compaction. Avoid excessive nitrogen fertilizer in the late fall and continue mowing if the grass continues to grow. Overly long grass that falls over on itself is more likely to develop snow mold.

If possible, grind up leaves with your mower in the fall to recycle the nutrients back in to the soil. If it becomes too cold to continue mowing, but there are still many leaves on the lawn, do your best to rake them up before the snow starts to fall. Leaves left lying on the lawn provide great conditions for this grass disease to develop.

In most cases, an application of a disease control material is not warranted on residential lawns. Snow mold is usually not severe enough to warrant an application of a disease control material. If small sections of either gray or pink snow mold does develop, lightly break up the fungal mats with a leaf rake or even your fingers if the spots are not very large. If large snow piles remain on the lawn near driveways or sidewalks, do you best to distribute the snow across the lawn so that it melts faster.

Usually this lawn disease is a sign that winter is ending as it is generally seen when temperatures start to warm up and snow quickly melts. If you have any questions or would like us to check it out, don’t hesitate to contact your local Spring-Green. 

Pink and Grey Snow Mold

snow mold on grass

In my last blog post, I wrote about Snow Mold. I hadn’t really seen it show up yet when I wrote the blog, but within this past week, the disease has really started to show up. I was recently looking around my lawn, as most of the snow had melted and I found a good deal of both Pink and Grey Snow Mold occurring on my lawn at the same time. The temperatures had risen to the low 50s and the snow was quickly melting—two conditions that promote development of the disease.

pink snow mold on bermudagrass

In these pictures, you can see the strands of mycelium growing across the top of the turf. Again, it is usually not a serious disease, and it had completely dried out by Saturday. After winter, the grass was a little matted down, so I took a flexible rake and broke up the matted patches of grass. I did not want to rake too vigorously, as the ground was still wet and I did not want to damage the good grass.

Pink and grey snow mold is not just showing up in the northern states, however. I received the picture below from our franchise in Opelika, AL of a Bermudagrass lawn that had developed Pink Snow Mold. Actually, on warm season grasses, the disease has a much fancier name: Microdichium Patch. They have had cooler, wet weather in the South, which brought out the disease. Snow cover is not required for Snow Mold to develop. It can develop during cool, cloudy, and wet conditions, too.

Although this picture does not show the individual spots up close, snow mold is causing the lighter colored patches in the turf. But if you have matted grass after winter, know that it will recover, especially if the lawn is lightly raked.

For those of us in the North, we hope that the snow has ended for the year. We at Spring-Green are looking forward to begin servicing the lawns in our areas very soon, but we have to wait until the ground thaws. Watch for us in your neighborhood in the upcoming weeks!

Snow Mold: What It Is and How to Treat It

grey snow mold

It is early spring and the snow is beginning to melt, often bringing outbreaks of Snow Mold on many lawns. Although it is not a serious disease, snow mold can leave large destroyed areas on a lawn that will take a lot longer to turn green as the weather continues to warm up.

What Is Snow Mold?

There are two basic types of Snow Mold – Grey and Pink – named after the color that the mycelium, or fungal growths, turn as they are exposed to sunlight. Despite its name, Snow Mold can develop without snow cover. Activity is greater when temperatures are between 32 and 45 degrees with cloudy, cool, and wet weather… or in other words—spring. Both diseases can occur at the same time in the same lawn if the conditions are right.

On warm season grasses, Pink Snow Mold is called by a much more ominous-sounding name, Microdochium Patch. It is the name given to Pink Snow Mold that occurs on warm-season grasses like Bermudagrass. It is basically the same disease and they both develop pinkish mycelium. The process of developing this mycelium is often referred to as “flocking.”

pink snow mold

What Is the Best Snow Mold Treatment?

Usually by the time you get out to see if you have Pink Snow Mold, the pink color has faded away. What you will see are small, 6- to 12-inch patches of turf that appears to be glued or matted together. If there are just a few patches, the best snow mold treatment is simply running your fingers across the area to break up the matted turf. If the area is larger, you may have to likely rake the area to break up the matted turf.

Is Treatment the Same for Grey Snow Mold?

Grey Snow Mold more closely matches its name. This disease will create mats of dense mycelium, which resembles thick cobwebs spread across the turf. Many times, once the sun comes out, the mycelium will dry up and disappear. As with Pink Snow Mold, the turf may mat down, requiring some light raking.

If you are not sure what type of Snow Mold may be in your lawn, or if you even have it, contact your local Spring-Green office to have them come out to check your lawn. They can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and provide you with additional treatment options.

What is snow mold and how do I know if I have it?

Be on the lookout for snow mold. This is especially true in areas that received a lot of snow that fell on unfrozen turf. The recent warm weather is rapidly melting the snow, which sets up the perfect conditions for snow mold development. Snow mold can appear on almost any turfgrass and in most parts of the country, but is more common in the Midwest.

Snow mold appears as a cottony mass growing across the tips of the grass blades. If it has a pinkish cast, it is Pink Snow Mold. If it has a grayish or white-ish cast, it is Gray Snow Mold. Both types produce similar symptoms, although Gray Snow Mold often forms more of a circular pattern. Both are more of a cosmetic problem than one that will lead to significant turf injury.

Disease control applications applied now will do little to control the disease. Those applications need to be applied before the disease develops. Unless Snow Mold appears year after year, disease control applications are usually not required. Lightly rake the area to break up the matted grass and new grass will grow into the damaged areas.

Snow on My Home Lawn

What does all this snow mean for my lawn?

For much of the United States, record snow fall has made life miserable, especially in areas that are not accustom to two feet of snow on their home lawn for the entire winter season, let alone having it come down within a week’s time. For the most part, it will not affect your lawn to any great extent. Snow is a good insulator and the grass will be protected from the extremely low temperatures that often follow large snow falls. Most warm-season turfgrasses have not started to come out of dormancy, so they will be fine. Cool-season turfgrasses are adapted to cold weather, so they will be fine as well.

There are two problems that may surface as a result of all the snow. Salt damage along streets, driveways or sidewalks may require lawn care repair work in the spring. The other concern is the development of a disease called snow mold, especially if the snow melts quickly. The fungal growth of the disease moves across the surface of the grass plants and as it dries, it can seem to glue the grass plants together. This may inhibit the growth of new grass blades from below. These matted patches can be easily be broken up by lightly raking the areas or by using your fingers and quickly run them back and forth across the patch to break up the mat.