Got the sniffles? It could be due to snow mould
Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 7:00 PM - Have you been feeling sneezy and stuffy lately? You aren't alone, and it could be due to melting snow combined with a fungus called snow mould.
This disease can damage or kill grass when the snow melts.
The fungus is dormant during the warmer months. It doesn't grow in winter, either, because cold and dry air prevent expansion.
Visit our Complete Guide to Spring 2018 for an in depth look at the Spring Forecast, tips to plan for it and much more.
The mould begins to infect plants when gradually warming temperatures or brief warm spells cause snow to melt, providing the fungi with the moisture it needs to survive.
Damage is usually concentrated to small patches of dead grass, but some fields can contain several of them. The fungus can vary in colour, from pink to grey and resembles cobwebs or small black masses.
While the damage it causes is mostly superficial, fungal spores can trigger allergies and asthma attacks in humans.
Grass that is believed to have been infected by pink snow mould. Source: Wikimedia Commons
In some cases an antihistamine will alleviate symptoms, taken only after a consultation with a medical professional.
Because the fungal spores travel through the atmosphere, it can be difficult to avoid a snow mould-induced allergy attack -- but avoiding large piles of snow can help.
Removing all lawn debris and keeping grass short prior to a snowfall can help prevent the fungus from developing as well.
Luckily, it doesn't stick around forever. Warm spring air and drier conditions will eventually kill off any remaining spores.