Winter is the time of year when plants, including your lawn, go dormant. When the plants are dormant, they are more resistant to harsh weather conditions and can more easily survive into spring. However, that doesn’t mean the plants are entirely unaffected. Ice and snow can still impact your lawn. Understanding the effects of snow on your grass can help you be better prepared for the potential damage you may find next spring and may help you avoid the worst surprises. The experts at Scientific Plant Service can help you provide your lawn the care it needs during the coldest months. We can help you prepare for the potential impacts of snow on your landscape.
Grass Blades Freeze
Temperature changes are tough on people but also plants. The grass becomes dehydrated in the cold, which makes it weaker overall. This weakened state gets even worse when temperatures drop below freezing. At that point, grass blades can break! This is why lawn experts discourage walking on frozen or frosted grass, to save it from cracking and breaking. If grass leaves are broken off and jagged, they are more susceptible to disease and death.
Mold Growth Beneath the Snow
Snow mold, a cold weather fungus, is one of the worst effects of snow on your grass. When snow covers your lawn, you can’t see all the problems brewing underneath. After snow melts, you might see white or pink patches on your lawn. These are areas of snow mold. Fortunately, you can treat to prevent snow mold. Call your Scientific Plant Service advisor for a personal inspection and treatment plan proposal.
Damage from Ice Cover
Even though your lawn is dormant in winter, it is still respiring. Prolonged ice cover prevents the exchange of gases and creates a toxic environment. Low areas in your lawn that hold water can ice over if temperatures stay below freezing for more than a week or two. Permanent damage can result. Creating small vents through the ice with a shovel or pick can help the gases exchange with the atmosphere.
The Impact of Rock Salt
One of the adverse side effects of snow on your grass is related to the rock salt used to control snow and ice on nearby roads. Salt damages your lawn’s roots by drawing moisture from the lawn’s roots. If possible, use sand or ashes on your sidewalks and driveway. If salt is necessary, spread the salt from the center outward, avoiding the edges near your lawn and landscape.
Increased Nitrogen Levels and Moisture Retention
While snow may present some problems for your lawn, it also offers a few unique benefits. For example, snow captures some nitrogen floating in the air and pulls it down to the ground—the nitrogen from the air filters into the soil when the snow melts, which provides natural fertilization.
Additionally, snow can insulate and protect your grass from harsh, dry winter winds and improve soil moisture retention. So, a snow-covered lawn is not always going to harm your grass.
Scientific Plant Service Is Your Go-To Source In Landscape Healthcare
Scientific Plant Service, located in Baltimore, is a privately owned corporation, chartered in Maryland in 1957 by Frank J. Burke. We started as a full-service Arborists specializing in the care of shade trees and ornamental shrubs, but today we are a Lawn Care company that is a huge part of the community. From aquatic environments and snow management to deer and mole control, SPS has services tailored specifically for your lawn and landscape.
We offer services in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia, including: Harford, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Prince Georges, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Calvert counties in MD, as well as Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church in VA. For more information, contact us online, or call us at 410-321-0970. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.