The Lowdown on Snow Mold
As spring approaches, you can feel the warmth of the sun in the air as the 12 feet of snow finally begins to melt. Tulips, daffodils, and other spring bulbs emerge in clumps of dark green foliage with the promise of flowers to follow. The trees and shrubs will soon be budding out, the robins returning to build their nests. You breathe in that fresh, crisp spring air – full of millions of spores from snow mold!
Snow mold is a fungal disease that occurs in the early spring. It appears on the snow and grass as a result of long periods of snow on the ground that is not completely frozen. As the snow melts, the fungal spores thrive.Grey snow mold (Typhula bligh_t) affects the blades of grass and the fungal spores, or _mycelium, resemble web-like whitish-gray patches with blacks specks. Pink snow mold (Fusarium patch) attacks the crown of the plant and the fungus starts out as white filaments of the cobweb and as it matures takes on a pink colour.
Snow mold is more prominent in most northern climates. Fortunately, the damage caused by snow mold is mostly superficial, but if you see any bare patches in the spring, just re-seed the bare spots. There are a couple of simple steps that you can do to minimize the amount of snow mold this spring.
One of the best things you can do is break up the snow banks, drifts, and windrows by shoveling the snow onto the lawn and allowing the sun to melt it quicker. This will reduce the habitat for the fungus to grow. Also, aerating the lawn by raking it in later spring when the soil is drier won’t spread the spores. If you do rake your lawn and are sensitive, wear a mask.
It is those nasty, microscopic spores that can wreak havoc on everyone with sensitive sinuses, allergies, and asthma. As I have gotten older, I have discovered an allergy to snow mold, and I have to take antihistamines. Check with a doctor or pharmacist for the right medication for you.
Here are a few suggestions to do in the autumn with your regular fall clean up:
- Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers in autumn.
- Remove all leaves and other lawn debris.
- Maintain regular lawn-cutting habits until grass is no longer actively growing (don’t leave grass too long in the fall).
- Try to avoid compacting snow, excessive traffic, and snow pile-up in winter.
- If you are a lazy gardener, don’t do anything and the snow mold will eventually disappear as the warm spring air dries everything out.
Snow mold is a fungal disease that occurs in the early spring. It appears on the snow and grass as a result of long periods of snow on the ground that is not completely frozen. As the snow melts, the fungal spores thrive.
Gardening Notes From the Neighbourhood
The “Peas Be With You” garden is very excited to announce it’s in the planning stages for their second year hosting a community garden in the neighbourhood.With the support of the Mustard Seed, a couple of community support workers, a grant last year from the City of Edmonton, and a handful of dedicated volunteers, this new community garden will hopefully flourish once again.
This is a true community garden in that it is strictly run by volunteers from the community and there are no individual garden plots. Everyone participates in the overall maintenance of the whole garden. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Caitlin Beaton at (780) 442-3560.
Also, the the Second Annual Primavera Festival will be held at the Santa Maria Goretti Community Centre from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 15. This event will also coincide (same date and location) with the Community Action Dash organized by Action for Healthy Communities. Tables are available to rent for $25. Contact Jennie at (780) 424-9723. For more information about Primavera please contact Jane Molstad at (780) 496-6887.
Donna M., a.k.a. The Plant Lady, is a passionate gardener who lived for 19 years on Boyle Street while raising her family. Donna still likes to be connected to her old neighbourhood. Do you have a gardening question? You can submit them to the paper and she will try to answer them.