Snow Molds

Overview

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACommon snow mold diseases that affect turfgrass in the upper Midwestern United States include gray snow mold (Typhula incarnata), speckled snow mold (Typhula ishikariensis), and Microdochium patch/pink snow mold (Microdochium nivale).  These diseases can cause significant damage on turfgrass in the spring following snowmelt, especially on intensively-maintained golf course turfgrass, which can lead to reduced turfgrass quality well into the summer months.  Despite their importance, much remains unknown about the basic biology and epidemiology of these pathogens.  As a result, mixures of multiple fungicide active ingredients remain the only viable method for suppressing snow mold under harsh winter conditions and can cost some facilities over $20,000 annually depending on the products purchased and acreage sprayed.  In addition, despite intensive chemical applications, disease breakthrough is not uncommon following harsh or variable winter conditions.  The University of Wisconsin annually conducts the largest product testing trial in the U.S. for efficacy against snow mold to ensure that turfgrass managers have the latest information on the most effective snow mold control options.  However, additional research is required to ascertain the precise conditions that favor development of each type of snow mold disease.  Results will eventually allow for more effective and efficient means of controlling these important diseases.

University of Wisconsin Snow Mold Research (Lead Researcher)

University of Wisconsin Snow Mold Efficacy Trials (Koch)

Impact of Protective Winter Covers on Snow Mold Development

  • 2011 – 2013
  • Funding and support provided by the Wisconsin Golf Course Superintendents Association and the Northern Great Lakes Golf Course Superintendents Association.

Relative resistance of creeping bentgrass cultivars to Typhula incarnata.

  • 2009 – 2012
  • Funding and support provided by the Wisconsin Golf Course Superintendents Association and the Northern Great Lakes Golf Course Superintendents Association.

Impact of novel fungicide timings on the development of snow mold on turfgrass.

  • 2009-2011
  • Funding provided by the Wisconsin Golf Course Superintendents Association.

Relevant Publications

Koch, P.L., Kerns, J.P.  2012.  Impact of novel fungicide timings on the development of snow mold and dollar spot on golf course turfgrass.  International Turfgrass Research Society Journal 12: 97-101.

Koch, P.L., Kerns, J.P.  2012.  Relative resistance of creeping bentgrass cultivars to Sclerotinia homoeocarpa and Typhula incarnata.  Online.  Applied Turfgrass Science doi: 10.1094/ATS-2012-1022-01-RS.

University of Wisconsin-Madison