In Calgary, the winter assaults our lawns and trees with all manner of attacks. Be it sun scald, frost damage, premature growth due to sudden thaws, winter is tough on plants. However, the greenery that does thrive here does so because it is hearty. Here at Mirage Landscaping, Calgary’s finest full service residential and commercial landscaping design, construction, and maintenance firm, we can tell you that something else is hearty enough to damage your lawn, even through the winter—snow mould.
If you are observant come spring, you will be able to see lawns that have been infested by either gray or pink snow mould. What you are seeing in these growths, that look something akin to multiple circular spider webs laying upon the ground, is actually a form of fungus. The spidery strands that interconnect to form the web are called hyphae.
The good news is that the fungus is harmless to the grass, but it is really unsightly. The trick of it is this: It wasn’t there in the fall, so why is it growing in patches on lawns in Calgary come spring?
The mould spores are always there, in their billions, but to sprout and grow, moulds need specific minimum conditions. For snow mould to develop, all that is required is some moisture, a temperature of about 39F/4C, and decaying organic material.
Some snow cover and the Chinook winds provide the first two conditions, property owners who either neglect their fall lawn maintenance, or who put down inappropriate amounts of fall fertilizer, provide the third. If mould can grow on fruits and vegetables stored in a refrigerator, it can certainly grow beneath a layer of snow. Thick snow cover becomes an insulating blanket, perfect for mould growth. If you leave too much thatch, grass clippings, dead leaves, or twigs and branches laying about upon the lawn, mould spores will begin to grow upon this organic waste and then spread, revealing themselves only after the snow melts.
You would then be in the position of having to contact us for a free quote to have a fungicide applied to your lawn, or waiting perhaps for months for the sun to dry out the fungi enough for them to die off. Both options are reactive, especially considering that a fall clean up from Mirage Landscaping of Calgary will most likely prevent snow mould from ever infesting your grass.
If you want your lawn ready for spring, you have to put it to bed correctly in the fall. When you hire Mirage Landscaping to perform your fall clean up, we tackle all of the decay sources that lead to snow mould. If your lawn has dense thatch, which is spent grass growth, we will power rake it to reduce the feed stock that mould thrives upon. Should you be scheduled for regular mowings, we will perform that service right up to when the grass is going dormant for the winter. Untrimmed grass will lay down under a snow load and become a ready feed stock for fungal growth.
Thatch removal and grass trimming alone will not prevent a fungal infestation of your yard. It is imperative that decaying plant material not be left to overwinter upon the ground. Leaves left under a snow cover are not going to break down appreciably over the winter, providing a steady food source for the fungus. Leaves left on the ground over the winter will also physically interfere with the grass growing again come spring. Matted leaves from the previous spring can also easily create dead spots in your lawn as water mixes with the tannins from the decay to form a weak acid that changes the pH of the soil beneath the dead leaves.
There is literally no downside to having Mirage Landscaping perform a fall cleanup, whether you are a residential or a commercial property owner. With over three generations of experience preparing our clients’ green spaces for winter, we are not going to take shortcuts, like leaving your dead or dying annuals in their beds, or leaving dead leaves on the walks or the parking areas, where they will become slipping hazards or create unsightly acid stains upon your concrete.
And when the snow flies, please remember that our fourth season of service begins. At Mirage Landscaping, we are also the class of Calgary’s snow removal experts. With environmental rules and the closure of public snow dumps complicating snow removal every year, why not also have us remove your snow?