December 2, 2014
Winter can make it a struggle for your lawn, trees and shrubs to survive and thrive in the spring. Taking lawn maintenance steps now, as the colder months approach, can help your landscape stay healthy and safe throughout the winter—so you can enjoy it all over again next year.
How Winter Hurts Your Plants
Low temperatures—especially when they come on quickly—can harm both roots and leaves. In some cases, if the temperatures fall well below a plant’s natural tolerance, the plant dies back at the root and won’t recover in the spring. Dry air and cold winds can combine to over dry leaves, shoots and even branches, resulting in scorching and death of leaves and twigs (or even whole plants). When soil is dry and exposed to winter winds, this kind of damage can be at its worst.
Even in the fall and early spring, frost damage can threaten your yard—especially if your lawn maintenance isn’t up to date. Frost results when dropping temperatures condense moisture in the air onto leaves and twigs, which then freezes. If a plant is still actively growing or producing flowers or fruit, the damage can be particularly severe. Brown or blackened leaves, stems, or fruits—or twisting of new growth—can be symptoms of frost damage.
Some diseases thrive in winter conditions, too. Dormant plants have little recourse when it comes to fighting off disease. Gray snow mold (typhula blight) and pink snow mold (fusarium patch) are two of the worst culprits. In the coldest part of the winter these diseases go dormant, too, but spores develop and spread when wind blows or raindrops splash. In the spring, you’ll first see small spots in your yard that develop into large discolored patches as much as 2 feet across. If you have cold, wet weather, snow mold is always a threat.
What You Can Do
Winter has a variety of ways to hurt the yard you love. To protect it over the winter, strategic planning in the early fall is priceless. TruGreen’s lawn maintenance cost structure offers year-round planning and applications by PhD-certified specialists, so you know you’ll love your lawn again in the spring.
To control for snow mold, proper mowing into late fall helps keep the chances of propagation down. Water only when it’s really needed in the late season, and fertilize in the fall to encourage healthy growth all the way to dormancy.
To help a plant fight off the results of frost, desiccation and freezing temperatures, lawn maintenance is the key. Make sure all your landscaping (plants, trees and grass) are properly fertilized, fed, watered, and maintained as fall approaches. Plants that are healthy going into the cold season—and properly prepared with the right amount of moisture to protect against over drying—have the best chances of surviving to another healthy spring.