How does snow affect your lawn?
How to protect your lawn during the winter months
In general, snow is beneficial for your lawn. Snow acts as an insulator protecting your lawn from the cold and can add much needed moisture during the winter months. Snow can have both positive and negative effects on your lawn, depending on a few factors such as the duration and amount of snow cover, the type of grass, and the temperature. Here are some of the ways snow can affect your lawn.
Positive Effects of Snow on Your Lawn
- Insulation: Snow can act as an insulator, protecting your lawn from extreme cold temperatures and frost heave, which can occur when the soil repeatedly freezes and thaws. This can be especially beneficial for warm-season grasses that may struggle in colder climates.
- Moisture: Snow provides moisture to your lawn when it melts. This can help hydrate the roots of your grass and replenish the soil moisture that may have been depleted during the winter.
- Nitrogen: Snow can capture nitrogen as it falls through the air, so when it melts and seeps into the soil, it will be absorbed by the grass. Nitrogen is a common ingredient in most fertilizers and can give your lawn an early boost to prepare it for spring.
Negative Effects of Snow on Your Lawn
- Snow mold: Snow mold is a type of fungal disease that can develop on lawns when there's prolonged snow cover. It appears as circular patches of dead, matted grass and can be either gray or pink in color. To prevent snow mold, avoid piling snow on your lawn and rake up any leaves or debris before the first snowfall.
- Compaction: If snow is piled up on your lawn for an extended period of time, it can lead to soil compaction, which can make it difficult for air and water to reach the roots of your grass. Routine mechanical or liquid aeration can help alleviate this negative effect. Schedule your aeration now.
Snow also halts seed germination, so seeding at the beginning of the growing season will yield the best results. Snow will not kill any grass seed that you have already laid down that has not sprouted, but the seed will go dormant until warmer weather melts the snow. Any grass seed that has already sprouted will be damaged or die from the cold temperatures and compacted snow.
A moderate amount of snow can be beneficial for your lawn, as long as you take steps to prevent snow mold and avoid excessive soil compaction. If you live in an area that gets heavy snowfall, it's a good idea to consult with your Lawn IQ lawn care professional to determine the best ways to care for your lawn during the winter months.