Now that winter is releasing its grip, it’s time for homeowners to get outside and inspect their properties for seasonal damage. Besides the snow and ice, the biggest culprits of the winter months a group of very specialized pests and de-icing salts, all of which can damage trees, grass, and shrubs. As the weather begins to warm, it’s important to take stock of what damage has been done and develop a plan to get your yard ready for spring enjoyment.
Trees and shrubs often bear the brunt of snowfall, literally. Look for any branches that might be broken or have been damaged by ice storms and prune them or have them removed by a professional as soon as possible. You may be surprised to learn that damaged trees are more prone to insect and disease infestations, but proper care can help trees and shrubs repair themselves.
De-icing salt used to clear streets and walkways are often necessary for safety but they can wreak havoc on grass and plants. Salt will draw moisture from the plant cells causing desiccation. If your lawn is exposed to too much salt, it can cause it to turn wilt and die. To restore the health of your soil, you can flush the salt in the soil by giving your lawn a deep watering daily once the weather warms. If necessary, remove the brown grass and a few inches of the damaged soil.
Check for brown patches in your lawn. Often excessive snow, particularly if areas have been covered with large piles of shoveled snow, will kill grass. To see if your brown grass is either just dormant or is dead, rake away some of the brown so that you can see the lawn surface. Check to see if there is any green tissue beginning to emerge. If so, the area will likely recover with time. If not, and other areas of the lawn are greening up, it’s time to make plans for some renovation of the areas. To repair, rake up as much of the dead tissue as you can. Adding alight topdressing of topsoil will increase your chances of success with seeding. Use a good quality grass seed that is appropriate for the area you live in. A local garden center, or hardware store (Or Be Green Pro!) are good resources to determine this. Rake the seed lightly into your new topsoil, tamp lightly with your feet. Keep the area moist, daily if necessary, to prevent the seedlings from drying out.
Lingering snow can also cause snow mold, a disease that is mainly confined to the leaves of the turfgrass plants. It presents as a circular pattern of grey or pink grass. The disease may go away on its own but if it doesn’t, the affected grass should be firmly raked, a light topdressing of soil added and new seed sown. Most often, only a raking is necessary to alleviate the damage.
Moles and voles, deer, rabbits, and other nuisance wildlife often find their winter meals in the yards of unsuspecting homeowners. Damaged grass, gnaw marks on shrubs and trees, and small tunnel systems throughout the yard can be signs that unwanted visitors have taken up residence. Most of the time wildlife will go away once their traditional food sources are more readily available after snows have melted. Most damage to grass from moles and voles will self-correct once turfgrass growth resumes. If trees have been girdled, that is, if they have been stripped of bark by wildlife, they will likely die but should be inspected by an arborist to see if they can be preserved.
Investing time in a thorough inspection of damage created by the often harsh conditions of winter can pinpoint small trouble spots to allow remedies to stave off larger problems. Your lawn care partner, Be Green Pro, can help ensure the trouble spots in your yard are corrected now that it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of spring!
Call us today at 262-361-4034 with questions on your yard or lawn, or for more details on our products & services, our current special offers, and to talk to someone about partnering with Be Green Pro to keep your garden & yard looking it’s best!
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