Gray Snow Mold on Turfgrass

by Garrett Lebo, Professional Golf Management major

In my first blog I talked about the most common golf course disease in North America, Dollar Spot. For my second blog I want to talk about another very common and damaging disease for golf courses, Typhula blight, or commonly referred to as gray snow mold. The disease is commonly found in the Great Lakes region of North America and also anywhere where it snows and is very cold during the winter. Millions of dollars are spent to prevent this disease every year, and can be avoided if the proper precautions are taken.

The snow mold is caused cold tolerant fungi that require a climate where it snows, and areas where the winters are very cold and wet. Once the snow melts in the spring, gray circular patches of mycelium are found. The mycelia then produce reddish brown sclerotia that survive the warm summer months, and can cause thinning of the grass and even death of the host. Disease growth is also favored by thicker grass, and high soil moisture cause by very poor drainage.

Typhula blight, although a very damaging disease, can be managed by fungicide applications but the timing of the fungicides is crucial. The treatment needs be done in the late fall, early winter as close to the first snowfall as possible. If fungicides are not wanted to be used, the disease can also be controlled culturally by planting less susceptible turf grass and cutting grass often to keep grass height down.

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.


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