Here in New Jersey, our lawns are not immune to winter lawn damage. The winters here can be tortuous for our grass. When the snow finally melts in the spring, you may be looking at severe lawn damage. Winter kill in New Jersey is caused by a number of different factors. Here are a few of the most common forms of winter lawn damage here in New Jersey.
Snow mold is a common cause of winter lawn damage in lawns all across the country, including right here in New Jersey. This fungus starts growing under the cover of snow, in your matted grass and excess thatch. You’ll notice it when the snow melts in the spring. Watch for the gray or white patches of gray snow mold or the pink, red, or copper-colored patches of pink snow mold. Pink snow mold is especially bad. It goes after the crown and roots of your grass and is a common cause of winter kill in New Jersey lawns.
If you find snow mold in your lawn, then it’s time to act. Use a rake to break up the affected turf and allow better airflow throughout. Helping your grass quickly dry out is essential. Snow mold prevention is done throughout the year but is especially important in the fall. Mow your lawn all the way up until it stops growing to prevent long grass from being matted down in the winter. Clear all the leaves and lawn debris from your turf to eliminate common fungus environments. Finally, aerate your lawn in the fall to help with water drainage. This helps avoid excess moisture and will even break up some of the thatch that is a common home for snow mold.
Crown hydration is one of the worst forms of lawn damage that our New Jersey grass faces each year. This form of lawn damage happens when the temperatures go above freezing for a while. This encourages the grass to wake up and start absorbing water, storing it in the crown of the grass. If the temperatures quickly drop below freezing again, then all that water freezes inside the grass. The frozen water rapidly expands and bursts through the cells, killing your grass.
There is no specific way to prevent or combat crown hydration. The best practice is to give your grass the best lawn care throughout the year. Proper feeding, lawn control, pest control, and maintenance all work to strengthen the grass. In the fall, your grass will be stronger and more resilient against the killer, fluctuating temperatures.
Winter desiccation is similar to crown hydration in that it’s caused by the weather. This form of winter lawn damage happens on grass that is not covered by snow. Without the insulating snow, the grass is exposed to the frigid, dry winds of winter. This dry wind rips the moisture out of the grass and there’s no way to replenish what is lost. The frozen ground prevents any water from being absorbed through the roots, meaning your grass eventually dries up and dies of dehydration. This is one of the worst forms of winter kill in New Jersey.
Because it is dependent on the weather, winter desiccation is tough to prevent. Like crown hydration, it comes down to best lawn care and lawn maintenance all year long. Make it a priority to boost the strengthen you lawn before winter comes around.
Finally, there are voles. Unlike moles, these furry critters are rodents that live primarily above ground. In the winter they travel through the network of runways they create through your grass as they chew away. When the snow melts, you’ll see ugly, crisscrossing paths of clipped and chewed grass.
Vole damage to your lawn is easily repaired with a rake and some patience. Rake the area to clear away grass clippings and break up the matted-down grass. In a little while, the grass will grow back. Vole prevention is essential in the fall. Make sure you mow your lawn before the first frost to eliminate the tall grass that voles love to live in. Eliminate vole hiding places by removing all of the lawn debris and leaves and make sure to trim your trees and bushes away from the ground.
Give your lawn a fighting chance by investing in a comprehensive and beneficial lawn care program from the professionals at Harvest Lawn Care. Our lawn care programs are designed specifically for New Jersey lawns, based on common lawn problems and the unique needs of our grass. Our essential aeration services help keep your lawn healthy and hardy every year. Let’s protect your lawn all year long.
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