Can snow damage my lawn?

How snow affects your lawn.

With snow covering much of the UK and amber and yellow weather warnings in place, many of us may find ourselves looking out at gardens blanketed with white this week.

While this may prompt get out and enjoy building snowmen and having snowball fights, it may also raise a valid question in your mind.

This nagging fear may be wondering what impact it will have on your lawn.

Snow, like most weather, will, of course, affect your lawn and its health.

But is it in danger of damaging your lawn? And how can you help it survive?

How snow affects your lawn

When it comes to your lawn is concerned, snow shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

For starters, it has not occurred as regularly in the UK in recent years.

And in terms of long-term damage, snow it do much harm.

However, what can happen, is that the conditions formed by snow as an insulated layer of moisture can aid the development of snow mould.

Snow Mould

This lawn disease appears straw-coloured with a pink tinge and may be found after snow cover.

The unsightly patches around your lawn will disfigure your grass, changing its colour and will spread quickly in moist conditions following snow due to rapidly multiplying conidia spores.

The disease then survives over the summer months because it rests on grass debris like thatch.

This means that when favourable conditions return, the pathogen will infect the leaves of living plants.

So, should cold and wet conditions occur, check the lawn surface as the ground thaws because it may have incubated the active mycelium.

Fusarium Patch

Snow Mould is similar to Fusarium Patch, another mycelium fungus that attacks turf as the snow melts.

Caused by a fungus called Microdochium nivale, it is often found in finer turfs, such as bowling greens.

But can appear on lawns, particularly after prolonged snow cover.

The fluffy white mycelium fungus can be found on matted grass leaves.

The affected grass looks straw-coloured with a pink tinge.

Like snow mould, Fusarium survives over the summer because it rests on debris such as grass thatch.

Subsequently, when favourable conditions return, the pathogen will infect the leaves of living plants.

How to combat Fusarium

To combat Fusarium, good soil fertility is the key.

This is because high levels of nitrogen can increase the chances of incidence.

This is one reason that TruGreen lawn care specialists use fertilisers that contain low quantities of nitrogen in the spring and autumn periods.

Factors that contribute to snow diseases:

  • A humid atmosphere, shade and wetness, accompanied by cool temperatures
  • Inadequate circulation of air above the grass sward
  • Rapid, forced, weak top growth in spring/autumn
  • Alkaline soil pH, 7 – 14
  • Weakened turf, perhaps due to wear or irregular mowing
  • Blunt mower blades, causing a poor cut
  • Compacted soil and poor drainage.

How to treat snow diseases

In more severe cases, these diseases can cause long-term damage to the roots of the grass.

You may be able to repair smaller patches in the springtime by raking out the dead patches and overseeding.

However, in worst-case scenarios, you may have to resort to more extreme measures like turf replacement.

Preventative measures against snow mould and winter lawn diseases

When dealing with these diseases, prevention is better than cure.

Having strong and healthy grass before a period of snow and bad weather will reduce the risk of diseases like this taking hold.

This can be achieved through professional lawn care processes like regular aeration to improve drainage and stop the lawn from sitting wet for too long.

You should also avoid walking on snowy or frost-covered lawns where possible, as this can cause damage to the grass plant, like blackening of the leaf, and make them more susceptible to disease.

Preventative measures:

  • The practice of cultural control methods such as aeration and scarification
  • Regular mowing
  • Alternating the direction of the cut helps the grass stand upright. This also aids air movement between the plants.
  • Lowering nitrogen applications at the end of the summer / early autumn period
  • Removing dew with a rake in the mornings

Need professional lawn treatments?

If you’re worried snow-related diseases are affecting your lawn’s health, contact your local TruGreen lawn care experts.

Whether dealing with lawn diseases or something else entirely, our experts come fully equipped with the know-how and best possible tools for any job.

By conducting a free 14-point analysis, your local expert will assess your lawn’s health and advise on the best treatment plan to help it achieve its true potential.

To schedule a visit from one of our expert lawncare operatives, find your nearest TruGreen business today or call 0800 021 3074 to learn more.