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Repair Winter Lawn Damage

Ice-coated grass

Perhaps you’ve noticed; Ohio is cold.

We’re used to icy winters and lake effect snow here in Geauga County, and while your family stays warm indoors, your landscape doesn’t have that luxury.

When winter takes it toll on your lawn, hope is not lost! Learn about some common cold-weather winter damage and how you can repair your landscape afterwards.

Salt Damage

Snow plows do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to keeping Ohio roads clear in the winter, but the salt that transportation crews scatter to de-ice roads can also damage your lawn. If salt finds its way into your grass, you may notice wilted brown spots. Salt draws moisture out of your soil, leaving a limited supply for plants and grasses.

To repair these areas, spread gypsum pellets or calcium sulfate. This helps encourage new growth. You’ll want to water these areas well to dissolve any remaining salts. If you live on a road that is regularly salted, you may want to plant further back from the edge of your property or cover plants and grass close to the road and sidewalks with burlap or snow fencing.

Snow Mold

Have you ever noticed small circles of pink or gray crust on your lawn as snow begins to melt? Snow mold occurs when moisture builds up on your grass, and while it may die off as your grass dries off in the spring, it may also cause infection or death of your grass.

The key to beating snow mold is prevention:

  • Mow grass before the first snow of the season: Long grass is a haven for snow mold. Make your last mowing of the growing season an inch shorter than usual to keep it trim before snowfall.
  • Skip nitrogen: Fertilizers with nitrogen can be helpful in promoting green, healthy growth - but applying it late in the season can put your lawn at increased risk of snow mold. Instead, apply slow-release fertilizers specially formulated for winter protection.
  • Watch out for pile-ups: Thick layers of leaves, thatch, or snow can mat your grass and create the perfect environment for snow mold to grow.

Bare Patches

Snow can be a suffocating ground cover. When snow sits on your lawn for days or weeks at a time, it can starve your grass of air and cause it to wilt and turn brown. When clearing snow from your sidewalks and driveway, avoid shoveling snow into a large pile on your grass that will take a long time to melt when the weather warms.

Brown patches may be a sign of dormancy. Rake away some of the brown to look for green growth at the roots – this is a sign that the area will likely recover over time.

If not, it may be time to renovate the area. Rake up as much of the dead grass tissue as possible before adding a light layer of topsoil. Rake a layer of high quality grass seed into the soil and tamp it lightly with your feet. Keep the area moist to prevent seedlings from drying out.

Nurture Your Lawn Back to Health

You don’t have to let winter damage put your spring plans on hold! With some TLC, your lawn will be back to health and vibrancy in no time.

No time to get the job done yourself? The lawn experts at Ecolawn can help! Give us a call at 440-953-9100 to speak with our lawn care team.