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Snow Mold and Mites – The Dangers of Denver Landscape Maintenance

January 28, 2016

Snow mold isn’t normally a frequent problem for most of the landscape maintenance around the Denver Metro area. This is because the vast majority of our snow melts off and allows the ground to dry out before another round of snow hits. However, with the extended cold temperatures and the snows we’ve had over the last few weeks, this disease may appear in the heavily shaded areas of your lawn where the snow has not melted off.

At the same time that heavily shaded areas are at risk for snow mold, the exposed areas (especially south and west facing) are at risk for heavy mite activity. Part of the reason for this is due to the fact the moisture content from our snowfalls has been low. This means the snow melts rapidly when the sun hits it, but it doesn’t provide enough moisture to the lawn to make up for what the mites are stealing. These warm areas of the lawn are a perfect breeding ground for mites, which are getting the best of both worlds. They have a clear place to feed in an area that is also warm. This is why MyLandscaper technicians spray exposed areas of lawns for mites, even when snow is covering another part of the lawn.

With the highly unusual weather we’ve had so far this winter (especially with El Nino in full swing), watering part of the lawn a couple of times a month on warm days (even though parts of your lawn are still snow covered) is still a very good idea. Remember, sun exposed areas of your lawn are drying out and may have any moisture reserves drained by feeding mites.

Solutions are varied, but because snow mold activity is greatest beneath covers that maintain moist conditions, all leaves or other materials should be removed from the lawn when the lawn is free of snow.  There are a few things you can do to help your lawn:
  • Fluffing up matted-down grass with a quick, light raking is also beneficial for your lawn and what might be lying beneath.
  • It is best to avoid piling up snow deeply along sidewalks and driveways, especially in constantly shady areas where it will form a long-lasting snow bank until the warmer months finally arrive.
  • In the spring, rake away dead and matted foliage from damaged areas and use the rake to fluff up the grass. This allows for better airflow and helps the damaged grass recover while also allowing new growth to begin.
  • It is also a good idea to follow this up with good fertilization and aeration of the turf for a better and healthier lawn recovery.
  • For the mites, a combination of winter watering and timed mite sprays to exposed and hotter parts of the lawn, especially for west and south facing areas, is the key to damage prevention.
This is why we suggest you let MyLandscaper and our experienced Landscape Maintenance team be part of your winter mite and spring recovery solution with winter mite sprays, and lawn care programs during the growing season.  With a little TLC this winter you can be confident that your yard will be in tip-top shape come spring. For help maintaining your yard all year long, contact My Landscaper and let us take that chore off your to-do list.