How Snow Affects your Lawn

American Turf and Tree Care in Greeley, CO

When the weather outside is frightful, you might enjoy cozying up by the fireplace with a good book or watching Netflix with loved ones – but your lawn doesn't have that luxury! Cold weather and snow can have a big impact on your lawn's overall health and vitality, and can affect seed germination.

In Northern Colorado, we're used to some snow and ice – but are you up to date on how to prepare and protect your lawn from winter weather? 

Snow Halts Grass Seed Germination

Have you ever wondered why lawn experts never seed lawns in the wintertime? The reason is that most seeds need warmer temperatures to germinate, and snow halts the germination of seeds altogether. Grass seeds in snow will simply lie there until temperatures rise, so seeding earlier in the season will yield better results.

Ice Can Tear Grass Apart

It’s not just seeds that are vulnerable to winter wear. With snow, sometimes there is ice, and ice can wreak havoc on grass and other plants. Aside from being heavy, ice can actually cause grass and other plant tissues to tear, causing issues down the road. 

Snow Mold Can Kill Grasses

That’s right, snow can cause mold in your lawn during the winter season. Gray snow mold is a type of grass mold that develops under snow cover. The mold causes patches on the grass that are dead, bleached, and matted together. These are usually found once the snow begins to melt away from the grass. This unhealthy ailment can make your grass look sick and bald in places once the spring thaw comes. 

How to Prevent Snow Mold

Snow mold is a fungus that develops under snow patches. It can be caused by snow melting and not being able to drain properly, or when there are dead leaves that get stuck under the snowfall. Snow mold can be identified by a circular, pinkish-gray shape. Here are three steps to prevent snow mold in Colorado.

Aerate Your Lawn

Liquid aeration in the fall opens up the soil and makes it easier for your grass’ roots to breathe and soak in water and nutrients in the winter. Your lawn should receive liquid aeration October or early November—especially after an extremely hot summer or if your lawn receives high foot traffic, as that is what compacts the soil in the first place. Don’t schedule your liquid aeration too late in the year; otherwise, your lawn may provoke the growth of snow mold. 

Apply Winterizer

Winterizer is a specific blend of lawn fertilizer that is designed to give your lawn the nutrients it needs for the upcoming winter. Ensure your winterizer has the right balance of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous in order to prevent snow mold. You should apply winterizer in Colorado anytime between late September and early November depending on the weather—as long as it’s applied after the grass stops growing, you’re good to go.

Clean Up Your Yard 

While it might be annoying to rake your yard, it’s better for your lawn’s health in the long-run. The longer that dead leaves, branches, and other debris stay on your lawn, the more likely your lawn may grow snow mold or another lawn disease. Keeping your yard clean brings you one step closer to having less dry and dead spots on your lawn. 

Keep your Plants Happy This Winter

There are a few ways to ensure that your landscape stays happy and healthy this winter, especially if it snows. Check out the list below for some ideas!

  • Keep grass clippings off of your lawn in the late fall before the snow starts to fall. This will cut down on the amount of dead clippings trapped under the snow, which will help to prevent snow mold. 
  • Use mulch or pine straw to help insulate your trees and plant beds. These measures can help protect your plant from big freezes and helps with moisture during the big spring thaw. 
  • Aerate your lawn in the fall to keep nutrients and moisture flowing freely.
  • Only water your lawn if the temperature is above 40 degrees & don't water your lawn if there is snow on the ground.

Keeping your lawn safe when the snow starts coming down can be a lot of hard work. Why not let the lawn care experts at American Turf and Tree Care help you keep your landscape beautiful all year long?