Winter Wonders: The Ultimate Winter Guide for Your Lawn.
The cold season is finally upon us. And even though your lawn might be the last thing on your mind right now as you’re snuggled up on the couch with a hot coco, we have some tips and tons of lawn care information for you.
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Lawns have officially gone dormant. Now what exactly does dormancy mean? Lawn dormancy refers to a natural and temporary state that occurs in many types of grasses during the winter months or in adverse environmental conditions. During dormancy, the grass slows down its growth, and the overall metabolic and physiological activities decrease. This is a survival mechanism that helps the grass conserve energy and resources when faces with unfavorable conditions such as cold temperatures, reduced sunlight or even drought.
In the context of winter, cool-season grasses commonly experience dormancy when temperatures drop. The grass may appear brown or straw-like during this period, but it is not dead. Once conditions become more favorable with the arrival of spring and warmer temperatures, the grass will exit dormancy and start to actively grow again. But not to worry, as soon as temperatures start to rise again your lawn will start to come out of dormancy.
Navigating Winter: How New England Weather Impacts Your Home Lawn Grass
As winter blankets New England in snow and ice, homeowners often find themselves wondering how their lawns will weather the cold. Winter weather can indeed have significant effects on home lawn grasses, but understanding these impacts can help you prepare and ensure a vibrant lawn come spring.
Frost and Freezing Temperatures:
New England winters are characterized by freezing temperatures and frosty mornings. These conditions can affect your lawn by causing the water in the grass blades to freeze, leading to cellular damage. The result is a browning of the grass, giving your lawn a seemingly lifeless appearance. However, fear not, for most cool-season grasses commonly found in New England lawns have a natural ability to go dormant during winter, protecting themselves from extreme cold. Come spring, these grasses will bounce back with the return of warmer temperatures.
The picturesque snow covering your lawn can bring a hidden threat – snow mold. This fungal disease thrives in the cool, wet conditions beneath the snow, leaving unsightly patches on your once-green canvas. Snow mold can be reduced preventatively by eliminating leaves and other debris before the first snowfall. After the final snows melt in the spring, a quick raking of the grass will break up the snow mold patches and help the lawn to breathe and recuperate quickly. Additionally, avoid piling snow in one spot, as this creates a conducive environment for the mold to flourish. Luckily, snow mold rarely causes permanent damage and your lawn should bounce back once the weather warms.
Winter winds in New England can be harsh, leading to desiccation – the drying out of grass leaves. Evergreen grasses are particularly susceptible, as they do not go fully dormant and continue to lose water through their leaves. While this leaves the lawn looking worse for the wear, the permanent damage is minimal and the grass bounces back nicely in the spring after a few nice, warm weeks.
Ice accumulation on your lawn may seem harmless, but it can cause significant damage. The weight of the ice can compress the soil, limiting oxygen flow to the roots and hindering their growth. To prevent ice-related damage, avoid walking on your frozen lawn, as foot traffic can exacerbate the issue. If possible and if you’re feeling energetic, you can gently remove excess ice using a plastic snow shovel to minimize the impact on your grass.
While essential for safety, the deicing agents used on driveways and sidewalks can inadvertently harm your lawn. Salt and chemical-based deicers can lead to soil compaction and disrupt the natural balance of nutrients in the soil. Do NOT use deicing agents on your lawn. We can always reseed any areas that don’t bounce back.
While the lawn grasses in the Northeast are naturally suited for and able to withstand winter weather, they’ll definitely take a few lumps along the way. You can help reduce the damage with some diligence, but ultimately it’s okay that things don’t look great temporarily. After all, you’ll enjoy your green, carpeted yard in the early summer much more after having looked at a thin, brown expanse just a few months earlier!