Winter kill is a chilling term used to describe all winter lawn damage that causes damage or death to the grass and plants in your yard. Here in Michigan, with our long and frigid winters, our lawns have a lot to contend with. Violent snowstorms, freezing ice storms, dangerously cold temperatures, moisture-stealing wind, and hungry critters are just a few of the common causes of winter kill. Here are a few tips to identify these causes of winter kill so you know how to react and how to prevent extensive winter lawn damage.
Winter desiccation is first on our list. This terrible winter lawn damage is caused by freezing temperatures and dry wind. When there is no snow cover, the grass remains exposed to the moisture-sucking dry wind. The wind rips the water right out of the grass, causing it to dry up. The frozen ground restricts the roots from absorbing any water to replenish what it lost. Ultimately, winter desiccation results in grass dehydration and death.
Because winter desiccation is caused by specific weather conditions, it’s not very easy to prevent. The bottom line is that it can only be prevented by boosting the health, strength, and resilience of your lawn throughout the year with efficient lawn care and careful maintenance. Proper lawn care makes your lawn more resilient against environmental stresses, weeds, pests, and lawn diseases.
Voles may be tiny rodents, but their damage is not to be taken lightly. A hungry vole travels through your grass under the cover of snow, chowing down on your grass as it goes. In the spring, you’ll find an impressive network of overlapping paths through your grass.
While it may look ugly, vole damage can easily be repaired. The narrow paths of chewed and dead grass will grow back quickly as the temperatures go up. You can prevent voles from taking up residence in your lawn by doing a bit of fall lawn maintenance. Clear your lawn of all leaves and lawn debris to eliminate vole hiding places. Trim low branches of trees and shrubs to eliminate ground cover and make sure you continue mowing your lawn until the first frost.
Snow mold is a spring nightmare for homeowners everywhere. This quick-growing fungus starts growing in the winter, under the cover of snow. It takes advantage of unhealthy lawns, growing in long, matted grass and excess thatch. Gray snow mold is characterized by white or gray mold growing in circular patches of wet grass. Pink snow mold, on the other hand, is red, pink, or copper-colored. The pink snow mold is extremely destructive to the lawn as it attacks grass roots and the crown. Watch for the first signs of snow mold in the early spring, when the snow starts to melt.
The best control for snow mold is active prevention throughout the year. This means you’ll need to provide your lawn with everything it needs throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Maintenance in the fall is essential too. Mow your lawn until the first frost to reduce the amount of matted grass when it snows. Get rid of all the lawn debris and leaves before the snow starts to fly. One of the best things to prevent snow mold is aeration. Not only does it help break up the thatch, snow mold’s favorite home, but it also helps with drainage, eliminating the threat of excess water.
Crown hydration is one of the most destructive causes of winter kill here in Michigan. Like, desiccation, it relies on extreme weather conditions during the winter. When temperatures climb above freezing, your grass starts to wake up and take in water from the roots. It stores the water in the crown. If the temperatures were to suddenly plummet to below freezing again, then it would result in quickly freezing the grass. Unfortunately, all that stored water freezes and rapidly expands, rupturing the cells of the plant and killing the grass.
Crown hydration can be averted with consistent lawn care throughout the entire year. Keeping your lawn well-fertilized, free of pests, weed-free, and healthy all year allows the grass to become tough and hardy. In the winter, your grass will be strong enough to withstand the rigors of winter.
Keep Your Lawn Safe From These Common Causes of Winter Kill in Michigan
Here at Grosse Ile Lawn Sprinkler & Fertilizing, we know all the unique issues facing our Michigan lawns. With our 6-Step Lawn Care Program, you can rest assured that your grass gets everything it needs with perfect timing to help it grow stronger than ever before. A healthy lawn can withstand these common causes of winter kill, giving you a healthy lawn to look at in the spring.
Let’s get started protecting and strengthening your lawn. Call us at (734) 285-4470 or request an easy quote right here. Follow our Facebook so you can be the first to hear about our deals, offerings, and news. If you’re looking for a few tips on lawn care, irrigation, tree care, outdoor lighting, pest control, or more, then do yourself a favor and check out our comprehensive blog.