A Whole New Kind of Problem...

The last couple days I kept seeing the strangest thing. My neighbors across the road would trek out to their front yards with shovels and start shoveling the snow. Now, shoveling driveways and sidewalks I have seen, but front yards? Never. I was bewildered watching my neighbors shovel their snow from A to B and then from B to A. Then I was let in on the secret. A secret that is quite common knowledge here. 

I was talking to a patient in Pre-Assessment Clinic last week when I inquired if she had issues with her eyes, ears, nose or throat. She did, she replied saying that her allergies were acting up. When asked what her allergies were, she said, "snow mould". Um, excuse me? Snow, what? Sure enough, she was allergic to something that I had not even known existed. 

I was curious about this new discovery so I did what I always do when curious. I googled it. 
"Snow mold is very common on lawns in Saskatchewan and sometimes it causes severe damage.
These fungi cause damage in the fall and in spring when snow covers the grass. The damage will likely occur in shaded or wet areas where the snow is slow to melt, but it is especially severe in years when a heavy and persistent snow falls on unfrozen ground."

Coming from Southern Alberta, a place blessed/cursed with windy Chinooks, I am not used to snow that comes in November and stays until spring thaw. Our snow comes then melts and comes then melts and comes then melts, etc. Saskatoon does not believe in snow melting in winter. The snow that falls in November is still there in April, making the bottom layer in your backyard's snow, layered under all the other month's snowfall. Now that spring has arrived, we discovered that there is, in fact, grass under all the snow in our front yard. Our neighbors across the streets whose front yards are not lucky enough to be hit with the sun during the morning are still knee deep in snow which, turns out, is prime snow mold growth environment. 

When I read further on, all of a sudden my shovel-wielding neighbors started to make more sense to me. The number one tip to prevent snow mould is, 
"In the spring, spread snow drifts as this speeds up melting and discourages snow mold growth."
Okay, so maybe they aren't crazy but goodness, as if having the snow stick around so long isn't bad enough but now I find out that mold can grow under all that snow. I miss chinooks. 

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