The books are here!

Picking up today’s mail was a much more delightful experience than usual….

“Over the moon” pretty much describes the feeling.  ♥


What hardy roses are good for a small garden bed?

I do quite a bit of volunteering throughout the year, most of it fielding online questions about gardening.  I am always super busy at this point in the growing season – right when everything is just getting started here in Alberta – but this year it’s even more hectic.  Gardening is on everyone’s minds!  How awesome is that?

A couple of days ago, I was chatting online with a lovely lady, who mentioned that she had a nice, sunny flowerbed, but it had a width of only three feet.  She wanted hardy and compact roses for the site.  I came up with a list for her, then thought: Hey!  Maybe someone else wants to know this exact same thing and here I’ve made the list and all…so…I expanded it a little for you and here it is:

Seriously Hardy and Compact Roses for A Really Small Garden Bed

‘Adelaide Hoodless’ – zone 2 – 3 feet x 3 feet – red flowers

‘Da Montarville’ – zone 2 – 2 feet x 3 feet – red flowers

‘Frontenac’ – zone 2 – 3 feet x 3 feet – dark pink flowers

‘J.P. Connell’ – zone 2 – 2.5 feet x 2.5 feet – yellow (One of my personal favourites!)

‘Winnipeg Parks’ – zone 3 – 2.5 feet x 2.5 feet – dark red flowers

‘Nicolas’ – zone 3 – 3 feet x 3 feet – red flowers

‘Bill Reid’ – zone 3 – 3 feet x 3 feet – yellow flowers

‘Champlain’ – zone 3 – 3 feet x 3 feet – red flowers

‘Never Alone’ – zone 3 – 2 feet x 1 foot – red flowers with white centres

‘Cuthbert Grant’ – zone 3 – 3 feet x 3 feet – red flowers

‘Henry Hudson’ – zone 2 – 3 feet x 3 feet – pink/white flowers

‘George Vancouver’ – zone 3 – 3 feet x 3 feet – red flowers

‘Hope for Humanity’ – zone 2 – 2 feet x 3 feet – dark red flowers

‘Marie Bugnet’ – zone 2 – 3 feet x 3 feet – white flowers

‘Oscar Peterson’ – zone 3 – 3 feet x 2 feet – white flowers

‘Snow Pavement’ – zone 2 – 30 inches x 30 inches – white/pink flowers

And, here are the Mordens:

‘Amorette’ – zone 3 – 2 feet x 2 feet – red flowers

‘Belle’ – zone 3 – 3 feet x 3 feet – pink flowers

‘Blush’ – zone 3 – 3 feet x 3 feet – light pink flowers

‘Cardinette’ – zone 3 – 1.5 feet x 1.5 feet – bright red flowers

‘Snow Beauty’ – zone 3 – 2.5 feet x 3.5 feet – white flowers

‘Fireglow’ – zone 3 – 3 feet x 3 feet – bright red flowers

‘Ruby’ – zone 2 – 3 feet x 3 feet – red flowers

‘Campfire’ – zone 3 – 3 feet x 3 feet- pink/white/yellow flowers (Another of my favourites!)

‘Sunrise’ – zone 3 – 3 feet x 3 feet – yellow-orange flowers (This one takes my breath away – I’m a huge fan.  I mean, look at it!)

'Morden Sunrise' 2

Morden ‘Sunrise’ rose (my photo)

Further reading: Roses and Explorer, Parkland, and Canadian Artist (Roses)


What are your favourite roses?  (They don’t have to be compact and they don’t have to be hardy to our crazy Canadian zones).  Go ahead and add links to photos, if you like!  

The Guides for the Prairie Gardener Newsletter – May 2020.



Welcome to the second issue of The Guides for the Prairie Gardener Monthly Newsletter! Janet Melrose and I are keeping you up-to-date on everything related to our book series Guides for the Prairie Gardener, letting you know about what other Prairie gardening-related projects we’re working on, and throwing in some gardening trivia and newsy tidbits, just for fun!  If you like what you see, please follow us on our social media and hit the subscribe button on Flowery Prose.

Book News and Events

The print versions of the books will be released this month!

The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables and The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases were released in e-book format on April 7, and print copies will be out on May 12! We are so thrilled that our publisher TouchWood Editions has given us this opportunity to get these books out into the hands of prairie gardeners!  You can order them from independent bookstores in Calgary such as Owl’s Nest Books, Shelf Life Books, and Pages in Kensington, as well as Audrey’s Books in Edmonton. They are also available from Chapters-Indigo, McNally-Robinson, and Amazon – you can use the links on our publisher’s website (click on either Janet’s bio or mine).  Look for them in bookstores and garden centres near you!


On April 16, Janet and I were guests on CBC Radio One’s Homestretch program with Doug Dirks – we spoke a bit about our books and early planning for our favourite time of the year: spring!  If you want to listen to our segment, click here.

Out and About


This month may seem slow as I don’t have evidence of everything I’ve been working on – no new published articles this go-around!  But I have been writing up a storm, plugging away at the next two manuscripts in the Guides for the Prairie Gardener series and a slew of articles that will be published later in the year (and one already for next summer!).  I’ve researched and written about everything from dragonflies to herbal adaptogens to beardtongues to leaf mold over the past few weeks…never a dull moment!


In mid-April, I took in an online class through the University of Saskatchewan.  It was taught by Egan Davis, the principal instructor of horticulture training at the University of British Columbia, and covered an interesting and relevant topic: Ecologically Modeled Planting Design (EMPD).  To simplify the concept, it’s basically the antithesis of modern gardening, where we have tended to work with static landscapes (plants are grown and mature in place and decline fairly rapidly, usually within a couple of decades).  EMPD is constructed in phases, and it is dynamic and long-lasting, taking as its inspiration the natural world and the way that plant communities evolve in the wild.  The presentation left me with a lot to muse about, and ideas to delve deeper into.


Otherwise, I’ve been getting outdoors daily for long walks, taking in as much of spring as I can possibly soak up.  The pond near my home is a favourite destination for me…and a myriad of duck species.  The red-winged blackbirds arrived last week; their “rusty gate hinge” calls are a sure sign of the changing season.

IMG_6914 (2)

Photo by Sheryl Normandeau


April turned into a really busy month for me! Like Sheryl, I have been writing like crazy on our books for 2021, articles and new workshops too! Plus trying out all sorts of techniques  indoor sowing and growing. Some worked out beautifully, such as the leeks I finally got to germinate and have a nice crop on the go, but some not so much as I have killed many a lettuce seedling pricking them out. I have lots of kale, tomatoes and cucumbers  on the go and about a zillion wintersowing jugs starting to germinate now outside. Lately of course now that it has stopped snowing, it has been a delight going out into the garden to see what has bloomed overnight with crocuses, snowdrops, and other spring bulbs popping up.

Photos by Janet Melrose (l-r: crocus, wintersowing)

What really made my month busy was learning, literally overnight, how to do online workshops and Horticultural Therapy sessions! It’s quite a skill and not one I had on my bucket list for 2020 for sure, but it’s fun getting together virtually and learning gardening when we are stuck at home!

In May and early June I have a number of workshops scheduled on a range of topics and with a number of groups, all of which are open to everyone!  You register either through Eventbrite or on the Calgary Horticultural Society’s website. Most are talks, but others have a hands on component either with supplies you bring in yourself and others where a kit is delivered to you. I do hope that you will be able to sign in for at least one!

May 5th – Garden On! – How to Get the Most out of Your Raised Bed

Got a raised bed? Learn how to get the very best out of it with planting strategies and practice to maximize your space to the best effect!

For more info and to register, click here. 

May 6th – Beyond Kale* – Small Space Edible Gardening

Those who have limited space or access to a ‘regular’ garden can garden effectively and creatively in containers, taking advantages of all the benefits of this style of gardening and minimizing the disadvantages, and have fun too!

For more info and to register, click here. 

May 7th – 2 Gals in a Garden – Fun, Frivolous and Functional 3 Season Flowering Containers –

A full hands-on Workshop on designing, planting and caring for flowering planters this season.

For more info and to register, click here.

May 12th – Calgary Horticultural Society – Native Plants for Alberta Gardens

Alberta is blessed with profuse and varied native species that are naturally suited to their particular ecological niche. By including them in plant selection, gardeners can save time, energy, money and frustration in efforts to garden wisely and successfully in our challenging environment.

Includes a demo planting…that you can do as well with materials purchased by yourself for the night!

For more info and to register, click here. 

May 13th – Embrace Gardening – Garden Self-Sufficiency  

Growing produce this year is never more important. To learn and know that you can grow part of your food is gardening self-sufficiency.

For more info and to register, click here. 

May 14th –  2 Gals in a Garden- Mixed Edible Planters- A full hands-on Workshop

Grow Your Own Veggies, Fruit and Edible Flowers In Planters to Fit Any Space! And plant up your own container during the workshop!

For more info and to register, click here. 

May 21st– Calgary Horticultural Society -Intensive Planting

How to grow more in less space! Includes a demo planting…that you can do as well with materials purchased by yourself for the night!

For more info and to register, click here.

May 28th– 2 Gals in a Garden- Mighty Herbs-A full hands-on workshop

Herbs belong in every garden, big and small! Join us to learn about culinary herbs, then plant your own container !

For more info and to register, click here. 

In Our Gardens


The community garden I’ve been a member of for the past few years looks like it will be shuttered due to some ongoing issues, so I’ve been scrambling to find a new garden group to work with.  Fortunately, I found a plot in a garden in a community just south of where I live, and I’m looking forward to joining their membership!

My tomatoes are toodling along indoors and will be hardened off and planted out in a few weeks into large containers on my balcony. In late April, I sowed radishes, Swiss chard, and lettuce in containers outside on the balcony, and some spinach seeds went in today.  And of course, there are plentiful garlic greens, pea shoots, and mustard sprouts going on indoors…it’s fun to keep these going successively so you can always have fresh fixings for sandwiches and salads. 


Photo by Sheryl Normandeau


It is amazing! Ever since Spring arrived on April 20th the garden has woken up and started blooming with spring bulbs flowering everywhere along with the Hepatica. The insects are out too to my great surprise as in the past couple of years they kept under cover until mid-May. Chives are already growing and ready to use and the rhubarb has poked its nose out to sniff the air. Perennials are sending out new growth and the robins are back along with the waxwings that eat the last of the mountain ash berries.

My bed at the Inglewood Community Garden has had its winter blanket of burlap sacks removed, and I can see garlic coming up under the floating row cover. My containers of edibles back at home are sprouting radishes, spinach, pac choi and arugula. I am so looking forward to some early greens in a few weeks!

Photos by Janet Melrose (t: Hepatica; l-r: cucumbers, chives, rhubarb)

Floral Miscellany


Have you ever heard of a condition called tulip fingers?  It’s an interesting – and potentially painful and itchy! – bit of plant chemistry that you can read all about here.


Seems like plenty of Prairie gardeners are planting raspberries this year – I’m seeing lots of mentions on social media! Did you know that the first written record of raspberries as an edible/medicinal plant was in an English herbal in 1548?  It is believed that the fruit has its origins thousands of years ago in Asia.  There are 200 species of raspberries worldwide – and that’s not counting all the cultivars! The Government of Alberta recommends the following varieties for Prairie gardens:

Floricane types (summer bearing): 





‘SK Red Mammoth’

Primocane (fall bearing – mid- to late August):

‘Red River’

‘Double Delight’


‘Autumn Bliss’

‘Fall Brook’


If April brought snow showers, we are really hoping that May bring flowers! But we had better not be too hasty! May can bring lots of abrupt changes to the weather and in Calgary we have had snow on the May long weekend and just plain rain more often than not. Actual snow fell seven times since 2000, and 2016 was the second coldest May long weekend in 40 years! Though 2018 was gorgeous. As a weather geek I am already wondering about our upcoming holiday weather for 2020!

CTV News, “Snow makes long weekend appearance in Calgary and surrounding areas,” May 22, 2016. 

Global News, “2016 the second coldest May long weekend in Calgary in at least 40 years,” May 23, 2016. )

But if May is iffy, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be sowing. Many vegetables should be sown well beforehand, and can weather just about whatever weather we get thrown at us this month. Here is a handy guide put out by Agriculture Alberta for the soil temperatures for many of our common vegetables, plus some historical data to help us plan our sowing!

Get social with us! 


Facebook: @FloweryProse

Twitter: @Flowery_Prose

Instagram: @flowery_prose


Facebook: calgaryscottagegardener

Twitter: @calcottagegdnr

Instagram: calgaryscottagegardener


‘Til next month!  ~Sheryl and Janet♥

List of Greenhouses, Garden Centres, and Nurseries in Alberta.

I’ve created this resource to hopefully help connect the eager gardeners in the province with local growers and businesses that rely on our support….

If you garden in Alberta, please feel free to share this far and wide!

person holding a green plant
Photo by Akil Mazumder on

List of Greenhouse, Garden Centres, and Nurseries in Alberta


Dunvegan Gardens – Grande Prairie – 780-532-8280
Willow Valley Greenhouse – Grande Prairie – 780-831-4508
Braeheid Gardens – Sexsmith – 780-933-5159 –
Sunkissed Acres Greenhouse – Wembley – 587-298-5477
Riverside Greenhouses – Beaverlodge – 780-831-4508
Christie’s Gardens and Greenhouses – High Prairie – (780) 536-0204 –
Flower Frenzy Greenhouse – High Prairie – 780-536-0099
Fern’s Greenhouse – Girouxville – 780-323-4420
Trees and Lillies Gardens – Peace River – 780-624-1148 –
Grow North Gardens – Fairview – 587-989-6672 –
Westway Gardens Greenhouse – Bittern Lake – 780-672-6029 –
Amicis Gardens – Manning – 780-836-5940
Birch Meadow Greenhouses – Athabasca – 780-675-4187 –
Bellis Garden and Greenhouses – Bellis – 780-636-2669
High Q Greenhouses – Sturgeon County – 780-939-7490 –
Pots ‘n’ Pansies Greenhouse and Garden Centre – Barrhead – 780-305-6310
De Herdt Gardens – Barrhead – 780-674-2844 –
Green House The Little Farm – Sangudo – 780-785-2829
Granola Garden Centre – Gunn – 587-859-1633
Honey’s Greenhouse – Onoway – 780-913-0641
Bison Grow and Greenhouses – Bilby – 780-499-4829
Arch Greenhouses – Edmonton – 780-438-4349 –
Ellerslie Gift and Garden – Edmonton – 780-988-6622 –
Apache Seeds – Edmonton – 780-489-4245 –
Kuhlmann’s Greenhouse – Edmonton – 780-475-7500 –
Millcreek Nursery – Edmonton – 780-469-8733 –
Bonnie Doon Flowers Garden Centre – Edmonton – 780-440-3053 –
Greenland Garden Centre – Edmonton – 780-467-7557 –
Sunstar Nurseries – Edmonton – 780-472-6103 –
Brenneis Greenhouses – Edmonton – (780) 473-7736
Arrowhead Nurseries – Edmonton – 780-472-6260 –
All Seasons Garden Centre – Edmonton – (780) 448-2385
Dor’s Garden Shop – Edmonton – 780-909-7881
BMR Greenhouses and Water Gardens – Edmonton – 780-986-0787
Visser Farms and Greenhouses – Edmonton – (780) 473-4759 –
Kiwi Nurseries Ltd. – Acheson – 780-962-9297 –
Cheyenne Tree Farm – Beaumont – 780-929-8102 –
New Beginnings Greenhouse – Beaumont – 780-929-1235 –
Salisbury Greenhouse – Sherwood Park – 780-467-5743 –
Wallish Greenhouses – Sherwood Park – (780) 467-3091 –
Aspen Ridge Greenhouses – Sherwood Park – (780) 464-5527 –
Estate Gardens – Sherwood Park – 780-922-6329 –
Sherwood Nurseries – Sherwood Park – 587-409-4442 –
South Cooking Lake Greenhouses – Sherwood Park – (780) 922-6765 –
Greenland Garden Centre – Sherwood Park – 780-467-7557 –
Creekside Home and Garden – Spruce Grove – 780-470-0527 –
The Big Greenhouse – Spruce Grove – (780) 960-4769 –
Golden Greenhouses – Spruce Grove – (780) 987-3675 –
Local Nursery – Spruce Grove – (780) 987-9133 –
Aspen Grove Nurseries – Spruce Grove – 780-962-3148 –
Hole’s at the Enjoy Centre – St. Albert – 780-438-4349 –
St. Albert Greenhouse – St. Albert – 780-939-3110
Alpine Greenhouse – Parkland County – 780-470-0007
Gardiner’s Greenhouse – Parkland County –
Baraka Gardens – Smithfield – 780-221-5023 –
Dina’s Greenhouse – Gibbons – 780-983-5364
Char-Mar Growers – Millet – 780-387-4285
Deb’s Greenhouse – Morinville – 780-939-9690 –
Jones Family Greenhouse – Lamont – 780-896-2402
Bloom ‘n Bucket – Calmar -780-994-0944 –
Templeton’s Greenhouses – Edson – 780-723-4540
Castle Garden Greenhouse – Kitscoty – 780-846-2694
F’laura ‘n Company Greenhouse – Vermilion and Kitscoty – 780-808-9672
Dutchak’s Greenhouse – Vermilion – contact info TBD
Kathy’s Greenhouse – Marwayne – 780-847-2586
LCJ Greenhouses and Gifts – Bon Accord – 780-921-2192
Prairie Gardens – Bon Accord – 780-921-2272 –
Moe’s Gardens and Greenhouse – Bonnyville – 780-826-4500
Gardener’s Junction Greenhouse – Cold Lake – 780-594-1312
Rod’s Greenhouse – Vegreville – 780-603-0531
Fjellstrom Greenhouses – Vegreville – 780-657-2015
Thiel’s Greenhouses – Bruderheim – (780) 796-3501 –
Willow Valley Greenhouse – Warburg – 780-848-2634
Glamery Greenhouse – Westlock – 780-349-2931
Westlock Garden Centre – Westlock – 780-349-5348


Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre – Red Deer – 403-346-5613 –
Bluegrass Sod, Nursery, and Garden Centre – Red Deer – 403- 347-7211 –
Landover Nursery and Greenhouse – Red Deer – 403-350-1293
Ever-Green Greenhouses – Red Deer – 403-347-6484
Coal Trail Greenhouses – Blackfalds – 403-347-4425 –
West Haven Nursery and Farms – Spruce View – 403-728-2100
On Earth Greenhouses – Lousana – 403-506-5853 –
DnA Gardens – Elnora – 403-773-2489
Westerose Greenhouse – Wetaskiwin – 780-887-8385
Arber Greenhouses – Westaskiwin County – (780) 352-7520 –
Aspen Greenhouses – Lacombe – 403-885-4516 –
Wolf Botanicals – Lacombe – 403-782-5729
Market on Twelve – Lacombe – 402-782-4783
Patio Gardens – Lacombe – 403-782-0888
Tranquillity Greenhouses – Clive – 403-348-6579
Green Acres Greenhouse – Leslieville – 403-729-2585
Arbutus Nursery – Ponoka – 403-783-6208
Bobtail Nursery – Ponoka – 403-704-4008 –
Country Gardens and Greenhouse – Ponoka – 403-704-4145 –
Forster’s Greenhouses – Forestburg – 780-582-2460
PJ’s Plantation – Tees – 403-348-9803
Spade to Spoon Market and Greenhouse – Irma – 587-281-4884
Off the Beaten Path Greenhouse – Irma – 780-842-8411
Battle River Landscape Supply and Design – Camrose – 780-672-9718
Green Valley Gardens – Camrose – 780-781-6728
Echoglen Gardens – Donalda – 403-883-2849 –
Silver Creek Greenhouses – New Norway – 780-855-3988
Howe’s Greenhouse – Castor – 403-884-2651
Wickham Nurseryland – Lloydminster – 780-875-7568/306-825-3262
The Planted Earth Greenhouses – Sylvan Lake –
Holly’s Greenhouse – Rimbey – 403-843-2892
Tail Creek Greenhouse – Stettler – 403-742-0909
West Country Greenhouse – Rocky Mountain House – 403-844-7617
Country Garden Greenhouse – Rocky Mountain House – 403-729-2029
The Plant Ranch -Rocky Mountain House- Facebook: plantranchgreenhouses – 403-845-5807
Friedt Flowers and Veggies – Sundre – 403-850-8137
The Garlic Ranch – Sundre – contact info TBD
Bearberry Creek Greenhouses, Nursery, and Water Gardens – Sundre – 403-638-4231 –
Dragonfly Greenhouse – Caroline – 403-846-4476


greengate Garden Centres – Calgary – 403-256-1212 –
Spruce It Up – Calgary – 403-201-7525 –
Garden Retreat – Calgary – 403-255-7097
Plantation Garden Centre – Calgary – (403) 277-4769 –
Plant – Calgary- (403) 585-4226 –
Star Burn Horticultural – Calgary – 403-478-7040
Country Gardens and Nursery – Calgary – 403-246-0611
Golden Acre Garden Centre – Calgary – (403) 274-4286 –
Cobblestone Garden Centre – Calgary – (403) 273-4760 –
IncrediGrow Garden Centre – Calgary – (403) 255-0740 –
Quickgrow Indoor Garden Centre- Calgary – 403-276-5156-
Bluegrass Nursery, Sod, and Garden Centre – Calgary – (403) 226-0468 –
Garden Scents Garden Centre – Calgary –
Bloomfield Garden Centre – Calgary – 403-466-7978
Country Gardens and Nursery – Calgary -(403) 246-0611 –
Blooming Baskets – Airdrie – 403-616-1720
Jim Bob’s Nursery and Garden Centre – Carstairs – 403-246-0611
La Greenhouse – Carstairs – 403-337-0036
Lohr-a-Lee Greenhouse – Olds – 403-438-0030 –
Countryside Landscapes and Garden Centre – DeWinton – (403) 938-1835 –
Saskatoon Farm – DeWinton – (403) 938-6245 –
Beaver Dam Nursery – Okotoks – 403-938-4394
Brassard Greenhouse – Cluny – 403-734-2114 –
Moore’s Greenhouse – Strathmore – (403) 934-4885 –
Eagle Lake Nurseries – Strathmore – 403-934-3670 –
Countryside Greenhouse – Rosedale – 403-823-8733 –…
Long Coulee Growers – Champion – 403-485-8216
AVB Greenhouses – Standard – 403-814-0710 –
Bloomin’ Acres – Brooks – 403-363-9416
Water Valley Forest Nursery – Cremona – 403-637-3912 –
Eastern Slopes Rangeland Seeds – Cremona – 403-637-2473 – (by appointment only)
Anything Grows – Cochrane – (403) 932-9922 –
Branched Out Nursery – Cochrane – 403-851-1323
Aspen Crossing – Mossleigh – – 403-534-2129
Vales Greenhouses – Black Diamond – 403) 933-4814 –
Bow Valley Garden Centre – Canmore – (403) 675-0701 –
Spring Break Flower Farm – Hillcrest – 403-563-3302
Bailey Hill Greenhouse – Cowley – 403-628-3491
The Blue Mouse Greenhouse – Pincher Creek – 403-627-4087
Grumpy’s Greenhouse – Pincher Creek – 403-627-4589 –
Dan’s Greenhouse – Lethbridge – (403) 327-3271
Green Haven Garden Centre – Lethbridge – (403) 327-6172 –
Country Blooms Garden Centre – Lethbridge – (403) 331-5660 –
Blondie’s Gift and Garden Centre – Dunmore – 403-504-0040
Windmill Garden Centre – Medicine Hat – 403-526-3447
Hilltop Greenhouse – Monarch – (403) 553-3175 –
Sunnyside Nursery – Taber –
Coaldale Nurseries – Coaldale – (403) 345-4633 –

If I have missed any or any of the contact info needs corrections, please let me know in the comments.  This is, of course, a work in progress….

Snow mold. What is it and how can I get it off my lawn?

I was actually going to title this post Snow Mold: Something to Sneeze At!  Or maybe Snow Mold: Gack!  What’s that Unsightly Stuff on My Lawn?  Way more dramatic and punchy, LOL.

I’ve been hearing over and over again how snow mold isn’t a “thing” outside of Canada (or even western Canada; I saw a comment on social media from someone in Ontario who had never heard of the stuff and I know they get snow there).  It’s quite possible that we’re more inclined to get it on the Prairies, as our winter conditions tend to support it more than elsewhere.  It’s not unusual to see the arrival of the white stuff before the ground is completely frozen, and then to have large accumulations linger throughout the entire winter.  This year, in Calgary (and it sounds like, in the rest of the province as well), we are having one big crazy snow mold party…it is everywhere!  Yay!  Achoo!

There are two main types of fungi that cause snow mold – gray mold is attributed to Typula spp. while Microdochium nivalis is responsible for pink mold.  You’ll instantly recognize snow mold because it flattens the grass and leaves a sort of pasty grey-white or pink-white webbing on top.  (You can see some good photos of it in this article). And you’ll also recognize that “snow” mold is a bit of a silly name, because the snow itself doesn’t actually mold.  It just acts as a cover for the fungal activity.

In the summer the fungi loll around and do absolutely nothing.  Although the heat doesn’t faze them, they are cold-lovers and when winter arrives, they get happy and start to grow.  After the big melt in spring, you’ll notice them clumping all your turfgrass together and looking mighty pleased with themselves.  And if you have seasonal allergies, boy, are you in for it.  Next to pollen, snow mold has got to be one of the worst triggers (just ask me, I know all about it).

So, will this icky grossness do permanent damage to my lawn?  Not usually. Severe infestations will cause patchiness, which can be easily remedied by overseeding.  To deal with snow mold, you can rake it really gently when the ground is dry enough to do so.  (If you have allergies, get someone else to do this job for you).  “Gently” is the operative word, here, as you’ll yank up your grass if you rake too hard this early in the season.  Bag up the clippings. Don’t thatch until later on, after the ground is completely thawed – this initial period right after melt isn’t the time to get aggressive with your lawn, as you’ll only do damage.  You can also choose to do nothing: as the grass dries out and the temperatures increase, the mold will become inactive again, and greening will happen on schedule.  A good soaking rain will also help wash away the problem. Don’t fertilize immediately after thaw, and don’t mow the lawn right away, either – wait until things dry up a bit.

Yes, snow mold will come back, and no, you can’t really do a lot to prevent it.  Rake up your leaves in the fall, and don’t use a high nitrogen fertilizer late in the season.  Give your lawn that final mow before the snow flies (if the precipitation doesn’t take you by surprise) – a shorter cut will also help deter voles, as well.


Further Reading:

Burke, Kelly. “Identifying and Controlling Snow Mold in Your Lawn.” The Spruce. February 2, 2020.