Winter is the time of year most typically associated with the extreme temperatures that have the most negative impact on your lawn. You may not actually see the damage taking place under the frost and snow, but year after year, those freezing temperatures take their toll. However, there are several steps you can take to avoid heavy seasonal damage to your lawn – and we can help!
As is often the case, the best method is prevention. The trick is to plan ahead – to kick off a winter lawn maintenance plan long before the freezing temperatures arrive. In the Fall, seeding your lawn with varieties of grass that become dormant during the winter can really help. Some Kansas City homeowners already have zoysia lawns, but in newer neighborhoods, fescue and bluegrasses have become increasingly popular. During the dormant season, the grass tends to turn a light brown color, but even heavy winter snow won’t stop it from greening up in the spring.
Regardless of the type of grass in your backyard, a treatment program is your best bet for ensuring a healthy spring lawn. In the late Fall, and again early in the new year, fertilizing cool season grasses will make a huge difference. The first application will restore all the nutrients lost from the soil during the hot summer months, and the second will help feed the grass roots during the dormant season.
And don’t forget to rake up those leaves! Ignoring them in the Fall almost guarantees you’ll get unhealthy wet spots that will become mossy and moldy during the winter – and you definitely don’t want a moldy lawn!
Thankfully this winter has been pretty mild. Without the feet of snow we’ve experienced in recent years, it’s unlikely we’ll see too much damage this spring. However, there are a few things you should look for when the grasses start to green up in the warmer weather. If you see any of the common lawn problems listed below, call us right away and we’ll get started on a plan to repair the damage:
Pink Snow Mold
This is a type of grass mold caused by heavy snow cover. It grows in turf and causes extensive damage in heavily thatched lawns. To repair the damage, the turf must be thoroughly raked, and the affected grass must be removed at the end of the winter season. After removing the mold, aeration and seeding will be needed to replace the damaged grass.
Salt can be a game changer for fixing icy sidewalks and driveways in the winter, but when it spills over the edge it can ruin your lawn. The damage is easy to spot, and thankfully, easy to fix. In some cases, applying gypsum to the affected area can dilute the salt and help the grass to re-grow. In more severe cases, the damaged lawn will need to be re-seeded.
Moles & Vole Damage
These rodents are every landscaper’s arch nemesis, and unfortunately, they can be very active in the winter. They tunnel through the soil, ruining your lawn inch-by-inch in the process. Not only do they dig up the turf making trails, they eat the grass too! If the damage from tunneling isn’t too bad, your lawn will recover in the spring – but only if the rodents are removed. For this particular problem, you’ll probably need to call a critter control expert … but we can help with the rest!
Thatch is an unhealthy layer of grass shoots, stems and roots that forms between the soil and the green grass that covers your lawn. It builds up over time as the turf produces organic debris faster than it can be broken down. Unfortunately, as it gets thicker, it can actually prevent new grass from growing. If you start to see patches of dead grass this Spring, thatch might be to blame. No worries though, aeration is the best options for dealing with excessive thatch.