Under a heavy blanket of snow, it’s easy to believe that nothing is happening on your course. But beware: hiding under that white blanket could be patchy turf infected with — you guessed it — dangerous snow mold.
Fortunately, by taking the right steps, you can prevent and even counteract snow mold as well as enable a quick turf recovery come spring.
Know your mold
When it comes to turf disease, your course is susceptible to a variety of conditions. While all snow mold is found beneath patches of snow or in areas with prolonged exposure to cool, wet weather with temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, there are key differences between the types of snow mold that might be growing on your course.
Here are some of the different types of snow mold, as well as tips to identify them:
snow mold. Often appearing after snow has melted as a
white-gray halo of fluffy fungal growth, gray snow mold develops in cool
conditions on wet and matted turfgrass. Unlike its counterpart, pink snow mold,
gray snow mold leaves sclerotia, or small tan-brown pea-like structures on
- Pink snow mold. While pink snow mold can appear similar to gray snow mold, under wet turf conditions, a pink hue can be visible in the symptomatic area, with a pink ring surrounding the patch of mold. Unlike gray snow mold, pink snow mold does not leave sclerotia on afflicted turf.
Tips to recover from snow mold
There are a variety of ways to manage and recover from both pink and gray snow mold. Consider the following methods for proper snow mold management:
- Snow removal. Despite its innocuous appearance, snow traps heat and moisture in turfgrass, creating conducive conditions for mold to grow. Proper removal of compacted snow will keep turfgrass healthy and ensure your course is less susceptible to mold.
- Raking. When it comes to turf management, raking your course is instrumental in avoiding snow mold. How? Raking promotes proper air circulation, preventing the moist, damp, stagnant conditions required for mold to prosper.
- Removing dead material. Removal of dead material such as dead foliage and turfgrass clippings will help you gain additional control over snow mold.
- Mowing and preventative fungicide application. In fall, continuing to mow well into turf dormancy while applying one to two preventative fungicide applications can help “put the course to rest” before snow comes in winter.
Fungicide applications to help prevent snow mold
To protect against snow mold, the best defense is a good offense. That’s why both preventative and curative fungicide applications should be used when treating potential snow mold on turfgrass.
For example, an application of Fore® 80WP Rainshield® specialty fungicide offers broad protection against a variety of turf diseases — including snow mold. Eagle® 20EW specialty fungicide can also be used specifically for pink snow mold treatment.
By taking a combined approach of preventative turf maintenance and proper fungicide applications, you’ll no longer have to worry about that deceptive blanket of snow — or what’s hiding just beneath its surface.
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