Lawn fungus appears in early Spring. This is the time of the year when we can finally see some grass and hopefully the snow cover is disappearing quickly. Just a few weeks ago there was a foot of snow in most of the properties I maintain. Under the snow. Now, the snow is almost gone, and in most chemically treated lawns, you will most likely see some damage caused by a fungal disease called snow mold.
Snow mold happens when the grass is kept wet for long periods of time and it is most common during years when an early, deep snow cover prevents the ground from freezing.
Managing lawn fungus
The best way to manage lawn fungus like snow mold is to keep the lawn dry. Which it means, there is nothing we can do until the snow is gone and the air temperature reaches 45 degrees. Most of the times, snow mold will only infect the grass leaf. Once the favorable weather returns the fungi will go into the spore stage until the following spring. To outcompete snow mold you will need three ingredients. Compost, compost tea and grass seed. Compost helps with drainage and improves soil structure. Compost tea will bring the good microbiology back, and grass seed will improve turf density.
Snow mold is mostly a nuisance. Warmer temperatures and drier weather will make the mold disappear. In early Spring don’t go crazy and start applying fungicides. Be a little bit patient, because once the grass starts growing, there will be no signs of any fungal diseases. I have never applied any fungicides in early Spring because I believe the best way to outcompete diseases is by growing healthy turf. Feed those microbes in the soil, and apply good compost tea. You will definitely see incredible results in just a few months.