Maybe you have heard the term ‘snow mould’ but aren’t exactly sure what it is or how to deal with it. Well, to be clear snow mould is a cold-weather fungus that usually affects cool-season grasses in colder climates. What makes snow mould difficult to deal with is the effects don’t show up until spring, when the snow melts. The best way to deal with snow mould is prevention.
Preventing snow mould on your lawn is a full-time job that requires year-round attention. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find reliable information that tells you exactly how to prevent it. In this article, we’ll review the steps you can take to prevent snow mould on your lawn and when to take them. Timing and consistency are critical, and we’ll guide you through the process.
Snow mould prevention actually starts during the spring months right after the last snow has melted. Your first goal in preventing snow mould is to make sure that moisture has a safe place to drain and doesn’t start pooling on your lawn. Here’s are some things you should do during the spring, fall, and winter months to prevent snow mould.
Regularly Dethatch: It’s important that throughout the year, you regularly dethatch your lawn. Thatch is dead soil and grass that builds up directly below the grassy layer of your lawn. Getting rid of thatch allows new, richer soil to provide the necessary nutrients for your lawn, which is crucial for the growth of healthy grass and to prevent snow mould.
Ensure Proper Drainage: One of the best ways to prevent snow mould is to ensure melting snow and other moisture has a place to properly drain. If your soil doesn’t have proper drainage, moisture will accumulate and sit on your lawn. This abundance of moisture creates an ideal environment for snow mould to develop.
Clear Leaves, Clippings, Debris Piles: Keeping your lawn clean and tidy isn’t just important to maintain a neat, well-manicured appearance, it’s also important for preventing snow mould. If leaves, debris piles, clippings, and other obstacles are left to accumulate on your lawn, it can prevent moisture from draining. This buildup of moisture can be a lawn killer.
Before Winter Arrives
Now that we’ve reviewed some of the long-term ways to prevent snow mould on your lawn, let’s review what you should do each season.
Apply a Fungicide: Applying a fungicide should be step one in your pre-winter lawn prep. Choose a heavy-duty fungicide that can stand up to the cold Canadian winters. Scotts Disease Ex Lawn Fungicide is one good option. There are many others, just make sure you choose one that will work well on your type of grass.
Cut the Lawn Just Before First Snow: Since many grasses slow their growth during the colder months of the year, it’s important to ensure your lawn is at a good length heading into winter. Since longer grass retains moisture and prevents drainage a final shorter mow will help it reach the desired height during the winter. Ideally your grass should be at 5 to 6 cm by winter to ensure a healthy lawn in the spring.
Don’t Fertilize Before the First Snow: Although periodic fertilizing is good for maintaining a healthy lawn, timing is everything. Fall is typically the best time to fertilize your lawn but fertilizing in the winter or prior to the first snow of the season is not recommended. It’s best to stop fertilizing within six weeks of the first expected snowfall.
Preventing snow mould is not only important to maintaining a healthy lawn, it can be important to your health as well. Many people suffer from snow mould allergies and can have an allergic reaction to the spores it contains. Even pets can be allergic to snow mould, which will put a damper on their fun in the snow. Here are some things you can do during the winter to prevent the development of snow mould.
Eliminate Heavy Snow Piles: If you live in an area that receives a decent amount of snow during the winter there is a good chance, you’ll be clearing snow from your driveway and walkways throughout the season. When you do this, it’s important to avoid placing large piles of snow on your lawn. Large piles of snow that are left to melt on your lawn create excessive moisture that can lead to the development of snow mould.
Clear Any Leaf Piles: If you live in an area with a lot of trees, you may have already spent a fair amount of time clearing leaves off your property. However, if the first storm or snow of winter deposits the remaining leaves on your lawn it’s important to clear them off. Leaves that are left to sit on your lawn can trap moisture, which can cause snow mould. If the forecast calls for snow, do a final sweep to clear any remaining debris from your lawn.
Check for Proper Drainage: Finally, since the buildup of moisture is a main cause of snow mould, you should perform regular checks throughout the winter to ensure any excess moisture is draining properly. Well-drained soil is critical to preventing snow mould.
Get Professional Year-Round Attention
Preventing snow mould is a year-round job, and not everyone has the time, tools or patience to get it done. Fortunately, The Ground Guys are here to help! We offer a full range of landscape services that will have your lawn and the rest of your property looking its absolute best throughout the year. To learn more about all the services we offer, visit us online or give us a call at 888-972-8063 today!