Get Off My Lawn! Winter Lawn Care that Will Save Your Grass

Grass sticking out of snow

Winter in the Upper Midwest can be brutal, so it’s a small wonder that grass is able to survive the frigid conditions. The problem is, your lawn isn’t as resilient during the colder months of the year as it is during summer. Grass is more prone to damage when snow falls or there is a deep freeze — two things that happen quite often in this part of the country. You can eliminate the risk of winter lawn damage by staying off of the grass, so read on to see why this winter lawn tip is so important.

Snow-Covered Grass Vulnerabilities

A fresh snowfall is beautiful, but it can also pose problems for your lawn. Snowfall creates a layer of precipitation that acts like a blanket over dormant blades of grass. When someone steps onto a snow-covered lawn, their weight pushes down on the snow and soil, which compacts both.

Because these patches of snow are denser than the surrounding snow, they take longer to melt. If the weather gets warm, the frozen footsteps may be the only snow that remains in the yard. The grass below will become smothered, and it could take weeks for the tracks to disappear. When they do, there is a risk that the grass below will have developed a fungus called snow mold, which leaves brown patches throughout the lawn. Stay off of the snow if you don’t want to deal with problems in spring!

Frozen Grass Fragileness

Snow isn’t the only winter lawn hazard — frost is another factor to watch out for. During the summer, grass blades have an elasticity that protects them from snapping under footstep pressure. In other words, the grass will bend but not break when you walk on a green lawn on a warm day. That’s why you won’t cause paths of destruction when you host a lawn party or play lawn games with the family.

When temperatures plummet, the blades of grass lose their elasticity. They are much more likely to snap in half, and when they do, they will turn browner than the surrounding grass. There’s not a whole lot you can do about the problem until your lawn comes out of dormancy, and even then, these patches will struggle to grow or turn green as quickly as the surrounding grass. It could even take the entire summer for these tracks to blend in with the rest of the lawn, so this is a risk you’ll want to remember.

What You Can Do

Sometimes lawns provide a handy shortcut to get to the car or mailbox, but it’s important to resist the temptation of walking on snow or frost. Adding to the problem is the fact that people and pets tend to take the same route when walking across the lawn, and the repeated footsteps raise the risk of lawn damage.

  • Avoid the temptation of walking on the lawn by keeping your sidewalks and driveway clear of snow. This will make it clear to visitors such as mail carriers that there is a designated path to reach your front door.
  • If you have a dog, clear an area of the lawn with a snowblower for it to run around in and do its business.
  • If your family wants to build snowmen or igloos, pick an area that’s out of the way, so any damage that does occur is limited to a place that won’t be seen very often.

Get Your Lawn Set for Spring

Winter lawn care is more about what you don’t do rather than taking action to maintain the grass. It’s the easiest time of year when it comes to lawn care, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. Keep off the lawn as much as possible, and you should be set for a healthy bloom come springtime. If you’re starting to think about getting the most out of your lawn next spring, learn more about our lawn care services that ensure a lush lawn.