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In Chicago, Snow Fungus Is No Fun

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

You've worked hard on your Chicago lawn through the summer, and the grass looks great. Now it's about time to bed it down for the winter, when your lawn will be blanketed with a thick layer of snow. What you do in these final weeks of dry fall weather is critical for long-term lawn care. Here are a few easy, proactive rituals to help you avoid the dreaded snow fungus next spring.                   

First and foremost, do not apply lawn fertilizer so close to dormancy that you spark fungus growth heading into the winter. The best way to ensure proper feeding is to check that blade growth has receded, but the grass retains a healthy green tint--no more than a month and a half before full dormancy.

While nitrogen-based fertilizers are great for stimulating winter root development and spring growth, they can launch outbreaks of both pink and gray snow molds. You're better off with a slow-release fertilizer. If you're not sure about timing or the right type of fertilizer, check with a Chicago-based lawn care expert.
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Putting a Chicago Lawn to Sleep

                    Before your first snowfall, give your lawn a nice, close mowing. Snow mold loves to nest in long blades. It's crucial to remove all cuttings and leaves from the surface of the lawn. Once they're covered with snow, leaves can fester and invite fresh fungi.

It may not be practical to keep your lawn clear of a blanket of snow, but you should do your best to prevent large drifts: the deeper the snow, the greater the amount of moisture seeping into the grass.

When springtime rolls around the lake and Chicago suburbs, aerate your lawn as soon a possible. Just like you, grass loves a fresh breath of spring to start anew.

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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