winter lawn

Beware of winter lawn diseases!

Which lawn diseases to be on the watch for this winter.

With the temperature dropping across the UK this week, it’s an unpleasant reminder that there is still a long stretch of winter ahead of us.

And with winter comes a batch of lawn diseases to be mindful of, lest your lawn fall victim to their clutches.

But what are they? And how can you be prepared?

How the weather impacts winter lawn diseases

The turf diseases this winter will, in part, be influenced by the weather.

As always, at this time of year, we must be vigilant in the face of turf diseases that prosper due to changing weather conditions.

This winter has seen almost record levels of rainfall in many areas.

If this level of rainfall continues, when coupled with lower ground temperatures, we’ll likely see an increase in damp-related diseases like microdochium patch and another fusarium like Snow Mould.

This is particularly common after a snowfall that hasn’t melted from the lawn surface for several days.

The impact of Snow Mould

Snow Mould is most destructive when snow falls before the ground freezes.

And while recent winters have seen less frost and snow, we may see more this year.

Snow mould appears straw-coloured with a pink tinge and may be found after snow cover.

The unsightly patches around your lawn will disfigure your grass, changing its colour.

Under wet and cool conditions, it will spread quickly due to rapidly multiplying conidia spores.

These are produced asexually and are spread far and wide by mowers, feet and wheeled equipment.

The disease then survives over the summer months because it rests on grass debris like thatch.

This means that when favourable conditions return, the pathogen will infect the leaves of living plants.

The problem with snow mould is that it can remain undetected, living for years on layers of grass thatch and underlay.

Identifying Snow Mould

So, should cold and wet conditions occur, check the lawn surface as the ground thaws because it may have incubated the active mycelium.

Snow Mould can be identified by its distinctive patches left on the lawn surface during the dormant period of growth.

Early identification is vital as it helps with both treatment and recovery.

Lookout for:
  • Humid atmosphere
  • Shade and wetness accompanied by cool temperatures
  • Inadequate circulation of air above the grass sward
  • Alkaline soil pH, 7 – 14
  • Weak turf, perhaps due to wear or irregular mowing
  • Blunt mower blades that lead to a poor cut
  • Compacted soil and poor drainage.

How to treat Snow Mould

If your lawn is suffering from Snow Mould, there are ways to reduce the potency of the outbreaks.

It can be controlled through cultural control methods like aeration and scarification. As well as regular maintenance practices like proper mowing.

For help on this topic, check out our guide on winter lawn maintenance – including our advice for mowing in the colder months.

To combat Snow Mould, we also advise alternating the direction of the cut. This helps the grass stand upright and air move between the plants.

We also suggest lowering nitrogen applications at the end of the summer and early autumn periods.

And for the most enthusiastic gardeners, you can even remove dew with a rake in the mornings!

Anxious about winter lawn diseases?

If you’re worried about how diseases could impact your lawn this winter, get in touch with your local lawn care expert to see how TruGreen can help.

With over 30 years as leading experts in lawn care, our technicians are fully equipped with the right tools and knowledge to deal with whatever hand winter deals for your lawn.

With regular treatment and a helping hand, you get the best hands and extra pair of eyes to help you stay ahead of any harmful diseases.

For more information, call 0800 021 3074 or find your nearest TruGreen business to book your free, 14-point lawn analysis from your local lawn care operatives today.