During the winter months, when your landscape lays dormant from the vitality of the growing season, it’s easy to forget that your lawn is still susceptible to insects and diseases. Your lawn experiences two common problems during the winter months – lawn mites and snow mold.
Mite damage typically occurs during an abnormally dry winter or early spring and can cause severe damage to your lawn. In some occurrences, damage can be nothing more than thinning blades, but more severe cases require re-seeding or sodding as the only solution for lawns that can’t recover on their own.
The presence of mites is often seen when your lawn begins to come out of dormancy, as areas are noticeably brown and straw-like and will not green-up. Mite populations flourish when conditions are dry, so keeping areas of your lawn moist when Mother Nature is not providing adequate moisture in the winter is your best natural defense.
There’s an art behind winter watering in order to ensure optimum results. Only water your lawn when the temperature is above 40 degrees – DO NOT water your lawn if temperatures are below freezing as the water will not soak into the root system.
Hot spots around trees (especially conifers like spruce or pines) and sloped areas facing south and west in the direct sun need special attention as they’re often prone to mite attacks given their dry conditions.
We’re not suggesting you activate your underground irrigations system, but watering with a hose-end sprinkler or nozzle (once a week for 30 minutes) is acceptable when conditions are dry. Remember to disconnect your hose after use to prevent freeze damage until temperatures stay above freezing.
Unlike lawn mites that thrive in dry conditions, snow mold (a fungal disease) often occurs in early spring after a particularly wet and snowy winter.
Snow mold is caused by snow piles that remain on the grass for extended periods – compacting and freezing the blades. Symptoms of snow mold include straw-colored patches in your lawn that are anywhere between 3 to 12 inches in diameter and cotton-like fuzz in between the blades.
One of the easiest things you can do to prevent snow mold is to rake your lawn as soon as the snow melts – even if you suspect that snow mold is present. The raking will help break up the matted down patches of grass, which allows the grass to breathe and discourages further fungal development.
Although snow mold will typically go away on its own, there is a chance that patches of your lawn could die if compacted for too long and seeding or sodding would then be necessary.
An integrated, full-year lawn care program can help strengthen your lawn during the growing season, which helps sustain the presence of lawn mites or snow mold during the winter months. Contact SavATree today!