Lawn care: getting ready for the snow to melt and spring to come

This has been one heck of a brutal winter; from prolonged freezing temperatures to more snow than we know what to do with, it’s been long and cold! Spring is just around the corner though; in fact I saw some birds in the yard over the weekend that made me think we have 2 weeks left until melt-off. Very excited as 40 degrees sounds like an extreme warm up at the moment.

Snow mold
Image By: William M. Brown Jr., Bugwood.org

I digress, this article is focused on what we may expect to see on our lawns once the snow does melt off. If you recall (for the Greater Toledo Area) we had 6 or 8 inches of snow fall in mid/late December of 2013, followed by rain/slight thaw and then more snow on top of that. Since then, it’s been VERY COLD! Snow mold may likely  be spotted on some lawns as the snow melts away, I’m only saying this because I believe the conditions are going to be right for it in some areas. If you spot snow mold, do not panic. Once the lawn has snow mold, there is not a fungicide that will ‘cure’ it – and most lawns will likely recover anyway. Here are a couple of tips if you do spot snow mold:

  • During the last cut of the season: Mow low (about 1.5 – 2.5 inches, as low as you can go without scalping the lawn). This will help keep the blades of the grass from matting down under snow cover.
  • During the first cut of the season: Again, you want to mow low. This will help promote heat and air circulation to the plant.
  • Snow mold almost looks like the lawn sneezed on itself upon close inspection. If you notice that, rake the areas of matted down turf so you are promoting air circulation.
  • Late application of fertilizer for the season (late fall/early winter) should not contain too much nitrogen so there is little chance of surge growth.

The area should recover. If your lawn tends to be prone to snow molds in certain areas, try overseeding in late summer with a disease resistant turf type like some varieties of Kentucky Bluegrass and fescues.

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