With record snowfall this winter, a common question has been: what will all this snow do to my lawn?
Although your lawn is very resilient, we may experience more vole activity, salt damage and of course snow mold or winter-kill damage.
Voles (also known as meadow mice) are rodents that are prevalent on turf areas located near mulch areas, shrubbery, or tall grasses. The most noticeable damage to lawns commonly occurs during the winter season under heavy snow. Under the snow covered turf, voles construct frequently used runway systems within the turf to seek food to be taken back to nesting areas. Turf damage is also caused by feeding, in which the voles chew the plants down to the crown at ground level. We are normally unaware of any damage until the snow melts. When the turf becomes visible, vole damage can appear significant and dramatic. However, please remember that the turf damage is only above the ground and the roots are normally undisturbed. The grass plants will regrow in the damaged areas when the temperatures rise. A good leaf raking of any damaged areas when the weather permits will speed turf recovery. Also the Land-Art Spring Feeding treatment will enhance the refilling of grasses.
Practices that help reduce the risk of vole damage include:
Salt damage is another common problem from heavy snow and freezing temperatures caused by road and driveway salt. These salts, damage plants by drawing moisture away from roots causing plant dehydration and burn. To help your lawn bounce back, apply gypsum after the grass has dried out. Then give the lawn area a thorough watering to take the salt below the root zones. Reseeding or sodding severe damage from salt or plow injury may be necessary and a Land-Art professional can assist you with proper procedures. Please note that gypsum can also be used to help eliminate turf damage from pet urine. Areas not repaired will have high exposure to weed infestation this season.
Finally snow mold or winter kill is a common occurrence that we deal with every spring season, some seasons more than others. Snow mold is a fungal disease that emerges in the lawn as the snow melts. It commonly occurs more during the years that we have heavy snow cover that prevented the ground from freezing. It can also be more prevalent where we experience ice sheets, where the snow melts than refreezes over poorly drained surfaces or winds dehydrating openly exposed frozen ground with no snow cover. Snow mold appears as circular patches of matted grasses that can encompass large areas and may be either pink or gray in color. The grayish casting color is usually less severe and will normally recover with warming temperatures, leaf raking and proper mowing. Pink snow mold can infect turf roots and may require additional disease control methods over and above the normal proper cultural maintenance practices.