Although we tend not to think about grass in the snowy winter months in Indiana, there’s still a lot to know about cold weather lawn care. Grass plants may enter dormancy to survive the winter, but dormant turf is hardly immune to a host of winter hardships.
We’ve put together a winter turf survival guide full of tips to keep your lawn safe and protected when the frost and snow hits the ground.
Protect Your Turf from Harmful Ice Melting Products
Snow and ice on walkways and driveways can be a threat to your family’s safety, but some ice melting products can actually threaten the health of your lawn. Sodium found in rock salt and other products draws the liquid out of the grass plants and then salinates the plant cells—causing it to turn brown and die. Consider calcium chloride or a magnesium mix to melt the ice instead.
Be Mindful of Walking on a Frosty Lawn
In areas where winter brings hard freezes and even snow cover, it’s a good idea to stay of your frozen lawn altogether. When your grass is covered in frost or frozen, it loses elasticity and the blades are susceptible to breakage. Repeated walking or driving over frozen lawns can kill turfgrass crowns, resulting in a damaged lawn marked by brown foot-sized spots that might not repair themselves until spring.
Prevent and Repair Snow Mold Damage
Snow mold is the turf disease responsible for whitish-gray or pink patches in the lawn that are revealed under the melting snow. Although grass may not be growing in the cold of winter, that’s when snow molds become active—especially under dense snow cover. When shoveling snow, it’s best not to leave huge piles where the grass grows because slow-thawing piles may encourage this fungal growth. If you find snow mold in your lawn as it emerges from winter, take the “groom & resume” approach—which you can read more about here.
Tame Tunneling Turf Rodents
Chipmunks and moles aren’t the only critters that wreak havoc on your lawn; Voles are rodents that tunnel under the snow cover but above ground in winter, leaving an indented trail behind. The best line of defense in preventing rodent damage to your turf is to eliminate the areas like brush piles and overgrown shrubs where they find safe haven in the winter. These pests continue to do damage until treated, so call us for vole control if you notice the telltale tracks.
Be Diligent with Timely Fertilization
Even when it’s too cool for grass leaf growth, roots can grow in temperatures below 50℉. This means grass plants are collecting and processing nutrients when the blades aren’t growing. The first fertilization of the spring and the last fertilization in the fall are both incredibly important treatments for the health of your lawn.
If you’re worried about the health of your lawn at anytime, give our Central Indiana experts a call at 317-251-6800 or request an estimate. We’re happy to answer any questions and get damaged turf on the road to recovery!