As the snow recedes after our snowy winter, snow mold and mice damage may appear on your lawn as common spring lawn care issues. Snow mold is a common turf disease and can range from visually unappealing to damaging with actual turf loss. Snow mold can appear on the surface of your lawn even with no snow in some circumstances. You will either see a pink or gray color, especially in the morning or with cool, moist conditions in March or April. Once dry, the affected grass becomes matted, kind of like pink eye, all crusty. I took the picture below of pink snow mold yesterday. Another area was matted and dry, requiring a light raking to break up the old matted leaf blades so air and sunlight can hit the soil and speed up recovery. Lawns with a severe case of snow mold should not receive an early crabgrass barrier. Applying a crabgrass barrier with a severe case of snow mold will place unnecessary stress on your already weakened lawn, often promoting less recovery and/or thinning. Your best option is to lightly rake a lawn with severe snow mold which will promote new growth. This can be done in conjunction with a natural or organic fertilizer treatment followed up with crabgrass suppression in May.
Mice damage is another spring issue and is typical if the lawn is left too long going into winter. Mice will feed on the surface leaves under the snow causing surface tunnels, as illustrated in the picture below. Some turf damage may result if the base of the lawn is eaten, down at the crown level. As the soil warms and your lawn starts to green, only then will you know if recovery is possible. A simple tip to help reduce mouse damage is to mow your lawn short for the final cut of the season, down to 1-1.5”. Be sure to mow your lawn if it is long in April to 2” and/or rake out the damaged areas to help promote recovery while applying an organic or natural fertilizer.