Winter Effects on Lawn Healthby David Steg on 02/08/16
What is winter kill and what does is do to my lawn?
We often think the lawns should only be cared for during warmer weather, but that isn’t true. Lawns should be taken care of year round for the best possible results. After winter, many homeowners will notice brown / dead spots in their lawns, which is known as winter kill. This can be a sign of seasonal maintenance problems. There are a few common causes for this phenomena, including disease, freeze damage, and general stress.
• Disease – Funguses and plant viruses attack grasses that are under stress, then weaken and infect them. The fungus will take away the required nutrients for healthy grass and can cause die-off during the winter.
• Freeze Damage – Hard soil and the lack of moisture are the two main causes of freeze damage that leads to winter kill. Dry soil becomes is more easily compacted and becomes hard, which allows for it freeze faster and deeper than well-hydrated soil. During very cold weather, these conditions cause damage to grass roots, which are unable to tolerate the extreme cold.
• General Stress – The largest factor to winter kill is stress. This can come in the form of disease, root damage from dehydration, or continued damage from drought. The best solution is to remove sources of plant stress to ensure a healthy lawn come spring.
What Contributes to Winter Kill?
The biggest cause of stress to a lawn is improper watering. The roots become stressed and are therefore prone to disease and weaknesses, because they are unable to get nourishment . These roots are unable to grow deep into the ground which will usually cause the grass to die. To prevent winter kill, a homeowner must provide adequate care according to their grass type and local weather conditions – especially in the fall. Feeding, aerating, and dethatching should be performed regularly. Most importantly, a homeowner must learn how to water correctly to promote deep, thick roots. It is important to understand the type of grass you have and follow the suggested watering. Saturating the soil can be goo because this will cause the roots to grown deeper and make the grass stronger. Too many surface roots, will more likely die with improper watering and hot summer days. Winter kill is a devastating condition that can affect lawn that are not as healthy as they appear It is always good to consult with your lawn care specialists to ensure your lawn is getting the proper care it needs.