We are noticing some unusual damage in some of our client's lawns and have diagnosed it as snow mold. This fungal disease can occur even without snow in cold and wet conditions.
What does snow mold look like? The turf has a matted down appearance with spots of healthy grass intermixed. If observed in the early morning, you may be able to see what appears to be pink 'fuzz' in the damaged areas (pink snow mold) or white 'fuzz' (grey snow mold). This disease can be difficult to distinguish from normal winter lawn damage caused by excessive rain, cold temperatures and debris such as leaves left on the lawn.
Fungicide applications are sometimes necessary to prevent the spread of the disease, but usually the weather conditions required to spread it are short lived. Your lawn care specialist will let you know if this additional service is needed.
The strong East wind and dry weather we have had recently are beneficial in stopping the spread of snow mold. Aeration in the spring and proper fertilization will greatly aide in the recovery of this damage. In severe cases, overseeding may also be needed.