With the days getting longer and the snow melting away, the damage inflicted upon your grass through the cold winter months doesn’t simply disappear with the ushering in of warmer weather. Even with Vancouver’s relatively mild climate, winter is tough on lawns. Failure to adequately prepare your property for winter can lead to common winter lawn issues like snow mould, bare patches, or brown areas. And treating these problems can prove to be a major headache.
This blog will explore some of the most common winter-related lawn issues and what you can do to help avoid them.
There are two types of snow mould common to British Columbia, both of which present as circular brown patches. Grey snow mould is often seen in the interior regions, while pink snow mould can be found in more temperate coastal areas like Greater Vancouver. If, as the snow melts, you begin to notice signs of snow mould, it can be treated. Start by gently raking the matted grass and allowing the grass to breathe. Often air circulation is enough to reverse the damage.
Prevention is the best course of action against snow mould. Before winter sets in, ensure you give your lawn a final cut, keeping the length short (and continue to do so until the temperatures drop below 4 degrees and your grass stops growing). Rake to remove debris from your grass and apply a small amount of nitrogen-rich fertilizer to nourish your grass.
If the problem persists, contact a residential lawn maintenance service for pesticide application.
When snow isn’t wreaking havoc on your grass excess moisture might be. Weather fluctuations in Vancouver combined with high levels of rainfall can lead to crown hydration. In this situation, periods of warmer weather cause the crown (base) of the grass to become super hydrated, followed by a rapid drop in temperatures which causes the hydrated crowns to refreeze and rupture, killing the grass.
Unfortunately, not much can be done to prevent crown hydration and reseeding or resodding may be required to restore your lawn. Pay attention to low-laying areas that could be particularly prone to water accumulation. A residential lawn maintenance service may be able to identify and correct potentially vulnerable zones.
A mild winter is always nice however, seasonally warm weather can intensify issues with chafer beetles.
The chafer beetle’s lifespan lasts one year. Eggs begin hatching in June or July, depending on the weather and immediately start feeding off grassroots, often leaving visible damage to the turf above ground. Throughout the fall and winter, chafer beetles continue to inflict damage to lawns as they feed off roots before emerging in the late spring or early summer to mate and lay new eggs. When the weather is mild, chafer beetles may become more active earlier in the season. This premature exit from hibernation not only means more activity under the soil, but animals like birds and raccoons are also more active in tearing up lawns in search of grubs.
Managing a chafer beetle infestation requires professional help from a lawn maintenance service. Effective treatment generally requires a combination of regular lawn maintenance to help promote a strong and healthy root system and some sort of preventative system. Pesticide sprays are no longer used to treat infestations; however, nematodes (tiny parasites) have proved highly effective in combating chafer beetles.