It’s back again! Year after year lawns in Maine experience the same issue after the snowpack melts. Many folks like to call it winter kill but in reality, it is a fungus. The good news is you can prevent damage by ensuring you take a few extra steps in the fall and springtime. Now that we are noticing the snow melting away and any damage from plowing, snowmobiles and other mechanized equipment, we are all getting a good idea of what repairs need to be done. You may notice bleached areas in the dead grass that are laying down flat. More than likely these are the areas that have already experienced the fungus. The damage is already done as far as the fungus is concerned. However, there is one more step you need to take to ensure that this year’s grass shoots come up without a hitch. You’ll need to disrupt the surface of the grass with a rake or some sort of de-thatcher. If you don’t do this then the slimy layer that is leftover from the fungus will dry and harden. This will create a “blanket” of old grass blades that will block out sunlight and oxygen to the roots and crown. It is extremely important that you disrupt this layer before you start noticing the new green shoots coming up. Once you disrupt this layer the shoots will have all the sunlight and airflow they need to return with muscle. If you had our fall fertilization service this last year than there are residual nutrients still left in the soil. This will help the shoots early this spring before your first application. Remember, you will not get even growth and possibly none at all in these areas if you don’t scratch the surface. Some folks experience spots on their lawns that don’t return at all. If this happens than seeding is the only option left. However, in many cases, the snow mold damage isn’t enough to have to worry about. The deciding factor generally is within the variety of grasses in your lawn.
Quick Fact: Snow Mold
[toggle_content title=”What is Snow Mold?”]Snow mold is a fungus that infects cool-season turfgrass. When there are prolonged periods of snowpack covering turf either of two Typhula species, Typhula incarnata and Typhula ishikariensis can damage the grass plants. Pink snow mold and Grey snow mold are the common names of this fungus.[/toggle_content]
What does it do? Both Pink and Gray Snow Mold cause matting of the grass blades. The fungus causes the grass blades to become stuck together appearing slimy until dry. The damage will occur if the layer is not disturbed before warmer temperatures arrive. Many lawns are affected by this each year while many other lawns are not. The grass type dictates how susceptible it is to the fungus.
[toggle_content title=”What can be done about it?”]Simply disrupting the slimy/crusty surface layer that this fungus creates will generally be enough to prevent damage in home lawns. If you feel that you may have this fungus in your lawn then you should immediately get a rake or dethatcher unit to scratch the surface of your lawn. If using a tow-behind de thatcher 2 or 3 passes may be necessary to fully disrupt the layer left by this fungus. It is important that as soon as the snowpack melts and you see visible signs that you perform this practice. If you wait too long then you could be doing more harm by not doing anything. These areas may not recover if proper airflow and the sunlight is not restored.[/toggle_content]
[toggle_content title=”What can Green Thumb do?”]Controls on home lawns are generally not warranted in this case. The fungus is easily controlled by cultural practices. If you think you might have this fungus please call our office. We’ll dispatch a technician to confirm this and recommend any steps you should take.[/toggle_content]
Thanks for the information regarding snow mold.
I have several sections of my lawn (mainly in the back yard) that look like the photos. How can I tell if the lawn has just not greened up or it is in fact snow mold. Will the grass by slimy to the touch if it is the fungus?
I have not gone out onto my lawn yet since there is still some small spots of snow and very muddy.
There is a good chance that it is Snow Mold. There is still time so don’t worry. As soon as things dry up out there you can get out the rake or de-thatcher and scuff up the surface. If you still have snow melting in your yard now I’d put the percentage up around 90%. If you need one of our techs to come and look things over just give the office a call! Thanks for visiting the site!
I Like your Alerts newsletter but have one comment. The gray body text is visually weak and not so easy to read. Topic headers are almost invisable. I compensate for this by copying the text and pasting it in a temporary Word file for reading using normal black text. Its workable for the occassional Alert but normal black font would be a lot easier. Just a thought for you to consider.
Thanks for the comment Steve. This has been noted and we will be making changes within the next couple of months. The website itself is still confusing to several people and I have been working on a new theme and layout. Our goal is to get the information organized in a way that makes it quick to find what you are looking for. Clean and minimal is what I’m shooting for. We have several things in the works right now! I’m in hopes to make the newsletter reflect the new theme of the website to maintain consistency. I do agree with you. However, we had some issues with the newsletter and had to make some changes on the fly. In doing this I had to make some sacrifices since I wanted to ensure the e-alerts get out in time. Thanks again! Stay tuned….
Thank you for your news letters they are always helpful—-although I will not be able to have your services this year due to our hardship problems in Millinocket because of the paper mills being down I still want to thank you for your past service—-If conditions improve in this area I will be able to come back to you for lawn care—-but not this year. Times are hard up here with out our mills—most of our neighbors are with-out work.
Thanks again for your past service,
We certainly understand that Carrol. If you haven’t already please contact the office 207-989-1433 and let either Angela or Amy know so they can adjust your account. The newsletter is as always FREE so if you stay subscribed you’ll still receive them at no charge. Let us know if you have any issues this year!
We hope some deals can be struck with the Mills up there soon!