Posts Tagged ‘snow mold’

Water your dry spring lawn

While Vermont and New Hampshire are not suffering through a long-term drought like California, we are certainly experiencing a very dry spring. This lack of rain can cause serious lawn damage.

A dry spring slows recovery from winter cold, ice, and snow.

A dry spring slows recovery from winter cold, ice, and snow.

Lawns do not have enough moisture to break winter dormancy and recover from the cold, ice and snow. I am seeing significant damage and widespread patchy browning from the long cold winter, lingering snow banks and snow mold. However, in some cases the dry soil and lack of rainfall has actually hastened spring greening and recovery.

Even sod is having a hard time greening up with a lack of rain this spring.

Even sod is having a hard time greening up with a lack of rain this spring.


My message has been the same to everyone over the past few weeks:
1. There is nothing you could have done to prevent this.
2. Water for 30 min a day starting immediately until we get rainfall.
3. Hold off or skip dethatching until your lawn is actively growing.
4. Your lawn may need future repairs.
5. Hope it rains soon.


Snow Mold Prevention

Published by mrgrass on November 15th, 2013 - in Cultural Practices, Turf Disease
Typical matted appearance of snow mold in a lawn.

Typical matted appearance of snow mold in a lawn.

Gray and pink snow molds are the two most widely known snow mold diseases in our geographic region.  Gray and pink snow mold can become established under moist, wet weather common in the late winter or early spring.  Most snow molds become visible in March and can grow well into April manifesting themselves as discolored patches ranging from 1-2 feet to mere inches in diameter.  These patches can take on the appearance of cotton candy with colors ranging from gray, to pink, to white depending upon the time of day and type.  Pink snow mold can cause moderate damage, especially in new lawns under ideal wet weather conditions.  Gray snow mold requires snow to develop properly while pink can manifest itself without snow cover and in wide range of temperatures ranging from freezing up to nearly sixty.  Pink snow mold’s ability to develop without snow and under such a wide range of temperatures means it is a very common disease.  Damage can occur from either snow mold disease, especially new lawns or those prone to staying wet.  The actual snow mold damage results from the plants inability to recover quickly enough and appears as thinning within the infected patches.
Regular raking and mowing are effective practices to reduce snow mold.  However, do not be tempted to cease mowing in October; a final cut should be done in November as the grass enters dormancy.  Not allowing leaf litter to accumulate or remain on the lawn as winter approaches is a great way to help minimize snow mold problems.  Cut your lawn a little shorter in November, as low as 1.5 inches to minimize matted grass and leaves without scalping the lawn on uneven surfaces.
Aerating will help reduce compaction and maintaining a slightly acidic soil pH will also help reduce pink snow mold.  Minimizing the amount of highly soluble nitrogen is also an important factor as succulent leaf blades are more susceptible as fall becomes winter.  Use of a slow release fertilizer while applying lower rates of nitrogen is a great solution if you have experienced snow mold problems in the past.
Reducing snow along your driveway, walkways, or minimizing large piles will help minimize gray snow mold at your home.  Fungicides should only be used as a last resort in a lawn but can offer some protection with proper timing (late fall and or early spring).  Snow mold sprays can be done in November or December in our market area. Creating a healthy lawn with a diverse turf grass population and proper raking and mowing practices is your best asset toward snow mold prevention.  If you do experience visible snow mold next spring, be sure to have it examined as treatment may be required by your locally certified and licensed lawn care professional.


Lawn Diseases

Published by mrgrass on June 11th, 2013 - in Turf Disease

Lawn diseases can be a very confusing subject because the average homeowner would have a hard time telling the difference between a lawn disease, stress, or insect activity.  Spring diseases range from snow mold coming out of winter, to leaf spot, dollar spot, and red thread.  Summer diseases can range from damping off disease, patch disease, brown patch, and rust.  Fall diseases mirror spring without snow mold.

Lawn diseases 

Most grass diseases can be traced back to a fungus, adequate moisture/temperature (climate), and the susceptible host plant.  Like any disease triangle, all three pieces listed above must occur to produce what you visually see as a problem.  Most diseases are fungal in nature and as such, most adore moisture – lots of it!  As such, many lawn diseases can be attributed to excessive irrigation in a manicured, suburban lawn.  Too much kindness can lead to all kinds of disease issues in your lawn when it comes to watering.  Too much water fills up valuable air pockets in the soil that leads to shallow roots and predisposes your lawn to all kinds of health issues.  Watering late in the day leaves moisture and water on the surface of the leaf blade, on the soil, and raises humidity low to the ground.  Any of these facts can cause a disease outbreak in mere hours with the right temperature and host; your lawn!  Fungal diseases can be aesthetic like red thread and not really cause much harm.  Or, fungal diseases can progress all the way to summer brown patch with the possibility of not only losing lawn  density overnight but having dead patches before that first cup of coffee is finished the next morning! 

As a homeowner, you have the largest control on preventing or contributing to fungal diseases in your lawn. Mowing a lawn when wet can spread diseases from lawn to lawn if you have a mowing company out each week.  Over-watering can cause disease and root problems as previously mentioned.  Watering in the morning or day can minimize moisture presence overnight, reducing the likelihood of a fungal outbreak.  While most diseases are fungal in nature, some are bacterial and some are found in the soil itself which become active during the ideal weather conditions.  Extended rainy periods can induce leaf spot disease and turf thinning if followed by hot sunny weather.  Stress on a lawn such as mowing a sod/blue grass lawn too short can induce symptoms such as pitting or scarring with patch disease.  Some diseases are more likely under high fertilizer use and some under low.  Lawn diseases are complicated and difficult to diagnosis without real field experience.  Treatment and prevention of lawn diseases run hand-in-hand and are just more reasons to have a professional lawn care company helping you each month throughout the growing season.  When it comes to diagnosing and treating lawn diseases, there is no substitute for real field experience and education, everything you get with Chippers’ turf division. 

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