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What's going on beneath your winter wonderland?

By TruGreen December 14, 2021
snow on a green lawn

There’s nothing quite like the winter season. Between your favorite holiday tunes ringing through the air and glistening snow coating rooftops in every neighborhood, winter comes with an undeniable charm that’s simply unmatched. Besides, who doesn’t love a weekend snuggling by the fire as the sky floods with dazzling little ice crystals illuminated by festive and colorful lights? 

When snow finally coats your yard, it’s instinctive to want to hang up your lawn care caps and nestle down for the winter. However, winter can be extremely tough on your lawn and, without paying proper attention to the things that could be impacting your turf, it could be difficult to recover come springtime. 

While your winter wonderland may look stunning on the surface, beneath the snow, it could be taking on a lot of stress. Together, let’s take a look beneath this wintertime scene and see what’s going on with your lawn.

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Overwintering Pests

Just as you settle in for a warm winter in your home, bugs are doing the same. While some insects migrate during the colder months, many build a home right in your lawn or plants, taking cover until temperatures rise. 

This hibernation practice for critters is most commonly referred to as overwintering. While activity and development of larvae, nymphs, eggs and adults nearly ceases, their populations remain at large under the surface of your lawn waiting for temperatures to rise. 

Once they’ve slipped into their overwintering state in your lawn, trees or shrubs, there’s little you can do to rid your lawn of pests. That said, tackling them either before the snow sends them deep into your turf or scheduling an early spring pest treatment once they’ve awakened can help prevent them from ruining your springtime fun. If you don’t want to wait until spring to protect your trees and shrubs from pests, a special application of horticultural oil can be applied to help control difficult types of diseases and insects in their overwintering stage, before damage occurs.

Salt Spreader Damage

Did you know that salt spray can be used to prevent ice from forming? Salt naturally lowers the freezing point of water, making it more difficult for ice to form on the street. In snowy regions, this is common practice for deicing the streets and making them safer to drive on. 

While we can all agree that a safer street is a better street, sometimes these salt sprayers can hit the edges of your lawn, contaminating your soil and causing salt damage. Salt damage occurs when your grass does not receive enough water to wash the deicing salts from your soil.

Don’t worry too much, though. Fixing minor salt damage is relatively easy: simply water your lawn to dilute the salt concentration and welcome back your healthy turf. That said, in instances where salt damage is severe, it can be detrimental to the health of your soil's ecosystem and may need to be replaced if excessive amounts of salt have been deposited.

Snow Mold

You may think your lawn has escaped the winter season completely unscathed, but once the snow melts you may be in for a rude awakening. Snow mold is a cold-weather fungus primarily affecting cool-season grasses that can only be found after periods of extended snow cover. This means that you probably won’t know snow mold is present until the beginning of spring/end of winter.

Come springtime, you’ll know you have snow mold if you notice the following signs:

  • Straw-colored circular patches ranging in size from a few inches to several feet across
  • Grass patches that are matted down and crusty
  • Gray snow mold will have a grayish-white appearance
  • Pink snow mold will have a whitish-pink appearance

To ensure no damage is caused by snow mold, it is recommended that you apply preventative fungicide in the fall, prior to snowfall. That said, if you do find signs of snow mold, the best control is to lightly rake through the affected area when the snow begins to melt. If snow mold damage is severe, contact TruGreen to find your path to recovery.

Snow Plow Impact

Snow plows, big and small, may drive on your lawn when removing snow and clearing your walkways. These big machines, while extremely helpful, can also have a negative impact on your turf’s health. 

Not only can the heavy machinery cause soil compaction and turf damage when driving across your yard, but it can also break your sprinklers. To help prevent damage from snow plows or snow blowers, consider marking the edges of your paved areas, sprinkler locations and lawn borders with brightly colored flags or tape. Avoid using heavy metal fencing or objects that could cause a hazard for the drivers.

Customize a Healthy Lawn Plan

Winter can be extremely hard on your lawn, especially if you don’t have a plan going into the cold, brisk season. Customizing a plan that is unique to your climate, soil condition, grass type and lawn usage is key to keeping your lawn green all year long. 

Thankfully, our TruGreen-certified specialists know exactly how to help you get the green turf of your dreams. Let a TruGreen specialist help you create a tailored lawn care plan that will help you achieve the lawn you love by calling 866.688.6722 or visiting our services page!

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