Snow Mold

What you can do to minimize the damage

By Scottie Hines, CGCS

As we say good-bye to another golf season, it is time to start thinking snow mold prevention!  Snow mold can be a devastating fungus if not controlled preventatively with a quality labeled product or combination of products.  Snow mold affects almost all turfgrass varieties in Minnesota.  It can be more severe on low cut turf, greens, tees and fairways due to the height of the cut.  It will also affect rough length grass as well, however, it seems to be less severe in these areas.

There are two snow mold types that are common here in Minnesota; gray snow mold: Typhula spp. and pink snow mold: Microdochium nivale.  For gray snow mold to develop there must be snow cover.  This is not the case for pink snow mold.  Pink can develop in cold and wet conditions like we typically see in late October and into November. 

Gray snow mold is characterized by circular patches up to 12 inches in diameter on closely mown turf but can reach patches of 24 inches on higher cut turf.  Pink snow mold is characterized by pink colored, round patches on closely mown grass and irregular patches with a pink tinge in taller grass.  Pink snow mold that develops in cool wet weather is typically called Microdochium patch.

In addition to using a sound chemical control program there are other ways to combat the severity of these diseases:

  • Prevent excessive thatch and thatch build-up
  • Remove all clippings, leaves and other debris prior to snow fall
  • Avoid high nitrogen applications late in the season, especially quickly available nitrogen sources
  • Mow late in the season and collect clippings
  • Strategic use of snow fencing to avoid drifts and piling of snow on critical areas

From a chemical control standpoint, Quali-Pro Enclave is a sound choice.  Enclave is a 4-way mix of proven snow mold chemistries:  Chlorthalonil 28.7 %, Iprodione 9.4%, Thiophanate-methyl 9.4% and Tebuconazole 2.8%.  Many superintendents have custom mixed these for snow mold control in the past.  Quali-Pro makes it easy with all four chemistries in one package.

For gray and pink snow mold control, Enclave should be applied once in mid-October to late November prior to snow fall.  Lightly water in for best results.  On golf greens and tees a second application can be made at a 28-day interval if conditions are favorable for disease development.  Application rate is 7.0 – 8.0 ounces per 1000 square feet.

Good luck in your snow mold control efforts!  The “off-season” is not far away.  Get some rest and spend some quality time with family and friends.

A 1993 graduate of Penn State University with a B.S. in Agronomy (Turfgrass) Scottie Hines has been working in the golf world in some manner for over 35 years. Having been at several top private golf clubs including Laurel Valley Golf Club, Oakmont Country Club, Baltusrol Golf Club and, most recently, Windsong Farm Golf Club. 

He was an assistant golf course superintendent for three U.S. Opens (’89 Senior, ’92 women’s and ’94 Open) and a superintendent for the 2000 U.S. Amateur.  

When not on the greens, you can find him at the local curling club, cheering his children on to victories while wearing his kilt. 

Scottie joined Tessman Company as in inside sales person in 2018.