why grass dies in the winter

Why Grass Dies in The Winter

Why Grass Dies in The Winter

February is here and Valley Green will be entering its busy spring season very soon. Over the years we have noticed that one of the first things that landscapers and homeowners do is repair their lawns that have had grass die over the winter. We specialize in cool season grass and the variety we have is tolerant to cold weather. Unfortunately, cool season grass is not 100% resistant to winter damage. Read on to learn why grass dies in the winter.

Why Grass Dies in The Winter

How to tell if your grass has winter kill.
Winter kill is one of the most common reasons grass dies in the winter. The primary signs of winter kill are brown patches that remain after the grass returns to a healthy green color in spring. Patches from winter kill can take months to fill in and you may have to reseed or resod your lawn to fix them. Even the most healthy and resilient lawns can be affected by winter kill.

Dead grass and cold desiccation.
Most cool season grasses can survive lower temperatures because the cover of snow acts as an insulator. However, in extremely cold conditions where is the grass is uncovered, it will lose moisture and oxygen after the ground has frozen solid. When grassroots freeze, they cannot replace the moisture that is sucked away by dry and cold winds. This results in cell death and perhaps even the death of the plant crowns.

Snow mold can also kill grass over the winter.
When you get a heavy snowstorm and the weather is not quite cold yet, these conditions can grow a fungal disease called snow mold. The problem with snow mold is that if your lawn does have it, you will not notice it until spring. When the snow melts you may notice pink and gray fuzzy patches covering portions of your yard. Snow mold usually resolves on its own after being exposed to sun and wind but if the grass has been infected for a long time, it may die and you’ll have to reseed.

How to prevent dead grass from winter kill.
The key to keeping grass healthy throughout the winter is to prepare it before winter begins. This preparation starts in spring and continues through fall. Fertilize the yard in early spring when your grass first starts to grow. Alternatively, you can fertilize after the last frost but this depends on what region you live in. It is also a good idea to fertilize again in fall but remember that fertilizing too late can cause snow mold if you are located in an area that has a heavy cover of snow over the winter. Aerating your lawn in the early spring growing season will also help prevent winterkill as it prevents the soil from being compacted before the cold weather sets in.

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