Common Winter Lawn Diseases: Identification and Prevention

common lawn diseases: snow mold

As the winter season settles in, our lawns face a different set of challenges compared to the warmer months. While the grass may appear dormant, it is still susceptible to various diseases that can thrive in cold, wet conditions. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the common winter lawn diseases, how to identify them, and most importantly, how to prevent and treat them to ensure your lawn emerges healthy and vibrant in the spring.

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A lush green lawn is a source of pride for any homeowner. However, during the winter, the battle to keep your lawn healthy takes a different turn. The cold and wet conditions create a perfect environment for certain diseases to develop and spread. Understanding these diseases and taking preventive measures is crucial to maintain a beautiful lawn year-round.

Common Winter Lawn Diseases

Snow Mold

Identification: Snow mold appears as circular or irregularly shaped patches of gray or pinkish, matted grass. It’s most noticeable when the snow melts.

Prevention and Treatment: Rake leaves and debris before winter to promote air circulation. Avoid excess nitrogen in late fall, and improve drainage in affected areas. Fungicides can be applied as a preventive measure.

Winter Brown Patch

Identification: This disease manifests as circular patches of brown or dead grass surrounded by a dark ring. It often occurs in early winter when temperatures fluctuate.

Prevention and Treatment: Properly fertilize your lawn, ensuring it doesn’t go into winter with excessive nitrogen. Improve drainage in problem areas, and consider applying fungicides if necessary.

Pink Snow Mold

Identification: Pink snow mold creates circular patches with a pinkish hue. It’s similar in appearance to gray snow mold but has a distinctive color.

Prevention and Treatment: Same as for gray snow mold, maintain proper lawn care and consider fungicides as a preventive measure.

Rhizoctonia Zeae (Rhizoctonia Web Blight)

Identification: Web-like strands of white or gray mold appear on the grass blades. It’s more common in cool-season grasses. It can also be found on flowers.

Prevention and Treatment: Avoid over-fertilization and improve air circulation. Fungicides may be applied if needed.

Crown Freeze

Identification: Crown freeze causes grass to turn brown and die, especially in late winter or early spring when the grass is beginning to grow again.

Prevention and Treatment: Adequate fall fertilization can help prevent crown freeze. Proper winterization practices also play a role in minimizing this disease.

Lawn Disease Prevention Tips

Now that you can identify these common winter lawn diseases, let’s explore some proactive steps to prevent them:

Proper Fall Cleanup: Rake leaves and debris to reduce moisture and promote air circulation. This helps prevent the development of snow mold and other fungal diseases.

[We recommend Greenworks Electric Dethatcher For Fall Cleanups]

Adequate Lawn Fertilization: Avoid over-fertilizing your lawn in late fall. Excess nitrogen can make the grass more susceptible to diseases. Use a balanced fertilizer with the right N-P-K ratio for winter.

Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Weed & Feed3, Weed Killer Plus Fall Fertilizer, 5,000 sq. ft., 14.29 lbs.
  • Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Weed & Feed3 weed killer and lawn fertilizer controls listed weeds and feeds grass in the fall for a better lawn next spring

Improve Drainage: Ensure that your lawn has proper drainage to prevent waterlogged areas, which are breeding grounds for diseases.

Regular Lawn Inspection: Periodically inspect your lawn during the winter months. Early detection of diseases allows for prompt treatment.

Fungicide Application: Consider applying fungicides in late fall as a preventive measure, especially if your lawn has a history of winter diseases.


Maintaining a healthy lawn during the winter requires a proactive approach. Understanding the common winter lawn diseases, their identification, and prevention measures are essential for a thriving lawn. By following these guidelines and implementing preventive steps, you can ensure that your lawn remains beautiful and resilient throughout the winter months. Don’t let the cold season damage your lawn’s health; take action to protect it now.

Last update on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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