Well, friends, here we are again: It's snow season. Are you ready?
I enjoy seeing the powdery snow collecting on the branches of evergreen trees throughout my neighborhood. Snow can be beautiful, but did you know it can also benefit your lawn? Consider the benefits as well as the harmful effects that snow can have on your grass.
It's important for grass to retain some moisture over the winter months. Cold, dry winds can remove some of that moisture, leaving a lawn in a weakened state. Snow cover prevents this loss of moisture. As a bonus, melting snow also adds moisture to the soil and grass.
A Dose of Nitrogen
Grass goes dormant in the cold weather months. This helps it to retain nutrients such as nitrogen until regrowth begins in the springtime. The falling snow absorbs nitrogen from the air. When the snow melts, it releases the nitrogen, which moves down into the soil. In short, the melting snow is giving your lawn a dose of nitrogen. Who knew?
Controlling Soil Temperature
The freeze/thaw cycle that happens in the wintertime can kill tender roots and bulbs. Snow serves to insulate the soil from drastic changes in temperature. Think of it as nature's blanket for your lawn.
A layer of snow on your lawn can lead to mold on your grass. Brown patches of grass are a telltale sign of snow mold. Of course, you have to wait until the snow melts to determine if you have mold. One way to prevent snow mold is to remove heavy areas of snow from your lawn. For instance, if your kids or grandkids build a snowman, enjoy it for just a few days; allowing it to sit on your lawn for an extended period of time increases the chances that mold will develop on the grass beneath it.
Icy Blades of Grass
Ice affects your lawn just as much as snow. Over the winter, your grass can freeze, then thaw. This process makes grass brittle and weakens it. It's a good idea to steer heavy walking traffic away from your grass during the winter season: Pressure on frozen grass can kill it.
Damage From Pavement Salt
There's a good chance that you'll drag a bag of pavement salt out of your garage this winter to sprinkle on your frozen driveway or walkways. But keep in mind that the chemicals in pavement salt can burn grass and kill it. By using a little care as you distribute the salt, you can avoid killing sections of grass near your driveway and walkways. Try putting a small amount of salt in an empty coffee can so you have more control over where it goes.
As you see, falling snow isn't all bad for your grass. In fact, it serves a lot of valuable purposes. If you want to find out how much snow you may be getting, check out my previous post. Thanks for reading. - Alan