Snow mold is a disease that causes problems on turf mainly in the springtime. Two types common to the region are Grey Snow Mold and Pink Snow Mold.

Where Does it Occur


Snow molds occur in most northern regions of Canada, including Edmonton. Most cool season grasses can be affected, while Fine Fescue is more severely damaged by this disease. Snow cover and wet weather causes the most severe cases of this disease.

Conditions Needed for the Disease


Neglecting that last cut of the year is generally creating the best conditions for snow mold to occur in. The tall grass bends over with the first snowfall and creates an ideal environment for the disease to flourish. Signs of the disease begin as small spots 2-4 inches in diameter. These gray-white patches can expand to three feet or more, with a look similar to grayish cotton balls. The blades of the grass are bent over and may contain black or brown fungi, intertwined with the leaf blade.

Control


Proper cultural practices are the best form of prevention for this disease. Ensure the lawn receives proper fall fertilization with an emphasis on potassium and phosphorus to encourage root development and disease resistance. Continue to mow the lawn well into fall, lowering the mower deck until the last cut is at a height of one inch. Decrease watering to allow the grass to "harden off" for the winter. Using a rake in the spring will break up the patches of snow mold and help the lawn recover more quickly. Bagging your first two cuts will also reduce the pathogens that can remain dormant between growing seasons.

For more information, call the professionals at Ace of Blades at 818-LAWN (818-5296),
or e-mail us at paul@aceofblades.ca.