Keep Off the Snow: Keeping Your Lawn Healthy in Heavy Snow

Keep Off the Snow: Keeping Your Lawn Healthy in Heavy Snow
When Mother Nature decides to dump a ton of snow on your lawn over the winter, it can feel a little alarming. You put so much time, work, and money into your lawn – how will your fragile grass fare? Well, your lawn is a little tougher than you may think. Believe it or not, your lawn can benefit from all that snow, just as it benefits from the summer sun. There are simply a few things you have to keep in mind when caring for a snow-covered lawn to make sure it stays healthy. Frozen Grass It’s not too complicated to understand the anatomy of your grass. The cells inside the blades of grass on your lawn are filled with water. When that water freezes, the blades of grass become less flexible, making them easier to damage and to break. That’s why when you walk on your grass in the winter, it makes a crunching sound – a crunching sound that should make you cringe deep down inside. When you walk on grass that is frozen or lightly snow covered, it damages your lawn. The damage may not be noticeable until the snow melts and the grass begins to thaw, but rest assured that if you walk on your grass in the winter, damage is being done. There’s also the problem of compacted snow left behind by shoes when walking on your lawn. The compacted snow takes longer to melt, which shields the grass from the sun and causes uneven growth that will become noticeable once the warmer weather returns. What You Leave Behind Footprints and compacted snow are but just one problem that walking on your snow-covered lawn leaves behind. When you tromp on your lawn, you also leave behind the salt you’ve spread on your walkways to melt ice and keep you from slipping. The products sold to melt ice are not kind to the grass. These harsh chemicals eventually work their way down through the snow and ice to your lawn, where they can wreak havoc on its health. Should You Shovel? You’re probably thinking that it’s inevitable for someone, or something, to walk on your frozen lawn this winter. If you have children or dogs that go out and play, you may think an ideal solution is to shovel a pathway. Problem solved! Not so fast. Put the shovel down and step away from your lawn, because shoveling the snow on top of your grass isn’t the answer. While the winter where you live may seem harsh, the snow on top of your lawn forms a bit of a protective layer over the grass. Removing that removes the small amount of protection your lawn has from the harsh elements of winter, not to mention a shovel itself can do a lot of damage. The extra foot (or paw) traffic on your lawn this winter will only do more damage if you shovel the snow away. Leave it where it falls and do your best to avoid walking on it. Don’t worry, spring is right around the corner! Until it rolls around try to enjoy the beauty of the winter landscape where you live and remember to stay off the snow!  
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