As snow melts, snow mold is showing up near Fort Wayne

Snow winter (WISH Photo/ Marcie Mangan
Snow winter (WISH Photo/ Marcie Mangan

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The extremely cold temperatures and record amounts of snowfall created a lot of problems in the winter, but now they’re leaving behind issues in the spring. As the snow melts, snow mold is showing up in grass all over the Fort Wayne area.

“If we get a typical winter where the snow melts in between [snowfalls], we won’t have as big a problem as we’ll have this year,” Mitch Chavarria, the fertilization manager for Paragon Landscaping, said.

When the snow sits around for weeks and months at a time, it creates great conditions for snow mold to grow.

“The sun can’t get in to dry out the grass. The grass can also fold over on itself and that doesn’t allow air or light to circulate,” Chavarria said.

Our sister station WANE reports, areas of a lot of matted down grass are likely spots for the mold. But, there’s not a chemical or treatment to put on the mold to make it go away.

“Not a lot you can do about it now. It’s hard to tell what’s going to live and what may not survive,” Chavarria said. “If you want to get out now and do something, you can rake your yard and encourage that air to circulate. Anywhere you’ve piled up bigger piles of snow, the heavier snow smashed it down ever more. Those are particular areas you want to rake up.”

When weeds first start to pop up, the ground temperature will be warm enough for fertilizer. Chavarria said to use one that is slow-releasing.

“A lot of fertilizer has a high release form and we don’t like that because it causes a lot of problems. It pushes grass to grow fast and you’re out mowing a lot and it can create problems in the summer. What it’s doing is creating a weaker system of grass because it feeds so quickly. You want to slow that down and slowly feed it to get a stronger, healthier lawn that doesn’t have diseases in the summer,” he said.

The best way to fight snow mold is to prevent it – that happens before the snow falls.

“Mow the grass down to 2.5 inches or 2.25 inches late in the season. I’m talking in December. That creates shorter grass that can’t lay over on itself and that’s where the snow mold problem is. Where it’s bending over at the crown of the grass is where it’s actually killing it. That’s where the mold is growing, right at the fold of the grass,” Chavarria said.

Some of the grass with snow mold may recover, but Chavarria said it’s likely people will need to re-seed those areas. The best time to re-seed is around July after the pre-emergents have worn off.

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