Spring is on the way! And the warmer temperatures provide the perfect conditions for melting snow on lawns and driveways.
As much as we are jumping for joy for this, hiding beneath larger piles of snow is a less than welcome sign of spring – a fungus called snow mould. Spores from the mould can cause sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes and, in more severe cases, trouble breathing. Spores are the reproductive cells of the mould.
It’s something that comes around every year. It likes the cold. It thrives in the zero-to-seven-degrees temperature range and it likes environments where there is plenty of organic material. The trick is to get the snow to melt quickly. As soon as the snow is exposed to good temperatures, the mould doesn’t survive.
Snow mould spores are not in the snow but grow in the moist soil underneath. Once the snow melts, the mould leaves circular grey or pink patches of unhealthy looking grass. But by that point, the spores have escaped into the air.
Is snow mould preventable? You bet! The best way to prevent snow mould is to spread snowdrifts out instead of leaving them piled up. Also, not mulching the lawn in the fall, cutting the grass short and getting rid of damp leaves also helps to prevent snow mould.
If people find their yard infected by snow mould, it helps to rake the affected patches gently to loosen up matted areas and promote drying. People should wear masks while raking, as loosening the mould up may cause them to inhale it. Even when not allergic to snow mould, people should keep their house and yard clean and mould free.
For those suffering from severe allergic reactions, The Lung Association advises to see a doctor right away. Everyone else should manage it as part of the general allergy season, and limit their exposure when possible.
Information provided by Viola Pruss from the St. Alberta Gazette