What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months? 


Damage from voles can be a very unpleasant site in the spring when you see your lawn for the first time in months after the snow melts.  To make matters worse, vole damage seems to appear that much more dramatic when it’s combined with all the other conditions affecting the lawn that go along with winter including snow mold disease and winter kill.


Vole Damage Tunnel

  Voles are small rodents very similar in size and appearance to mice.  They are herbaceous and tend to be prevalent in areas situated in close proximity to areas with suitable cover including wooded areas, parklands, bushes and shrubs, and tall grasses.



Vole damage is commonly most prominent during winters with long continuous periods of snow coverage.  The snow provides the voles with a sense of protection from natural predators as they can move about freely under the snow cover without exposure to the outside.


Voles tunnel along the surface of the lawn protected by the snow and create turf damage by feeding on the grass plants tissue and also from continuous “wear” from the traffic of tunnelling back and forth across the lawn.  Voles do not feed on the roots or crown of the grass plant and therefore the damage they cause is usually not considered severe.


Vole Damage to a Lawn

Recovery can often take place on its own when damage is minor by simply lightly raking up the areas of matted down turf.  When damage is more severe and the tunnelling has been extensive, a more aggressive approach including overseeding, topdressing, and slitseeding may be required to repair the damage.


Vole Tunnel Closeup

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?


Snow mold is a fungal turfgrass disease that commonly affects lawns in early spring.   The Symptoms and visual damage are very evident as the snow melts away and brown matted down circular patches of turf ranging in size from a few inches in diameter to over one foot cover the lawn.   Depending on the severity of disease activity, these patches coalesce together and form bigger patches when the conditions are favourable for the disease.

Snow Mold Damage

Snow Mold Damage

There are two types of snow mold disease that affect turf.  Pink snow mold also commonly referred to as Fusarium Patch, and Gray snow mold also known as Typhula Blight.   Pink snow mold poses a greater risk for more severe damage and can be identified with the distinctive pink coloured mycelium.  Damage to the roots, crowns and leaf may cause plant death and require renovation to bring back the lawn in these areas.  Unlike pink snow mold, gray snow mold mycelium is greyish white in appearance and requires snow cover for infection to occur.  Damage is usually only minor on the leaf blades and the turf can generally recover on its own from this damage.

Spring Snow Mold Damage

Spring Snow Mold Damage

Most of the turf species that make up a home lawn including Kentucky Bluegrass, Fine Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass are all susceptible to snow mold.   Although preventing snow mold disease can be tough, a few things to consider before going into winter to better prepare the lawn include:

  • Proper Fertilization (avoid applying excessive nitrogen)
  • Mow the lawn at the recommended height until it stops growing
  • Rake up leaves, clippings and other debris before snow cover
  • Core aerate and remove undesirable thatch accumulation

Although the appearance of the lawn with snow mold can look rather rough, this typically only lasts for a couple weeks until the lawn wakes up from dormancy and begins greening up and growing quickly.  As the lawn begins to dry up, lightly hand raking away the brown matted down areas can also help speed the recovery process up.   If more severe snow mold damage has taken place beyond just cosmetic, aggressive renovation practices may be required to repair these areas.  Cultural practices such as Core Aeration, Overseeding, Topdressing and Slitseeding can help with this.

Grumbling About Grubs? Get Rid of Them with Proper Lawn Care

Don’t get too comfortable with the warm weather nearing – spring lawn care is back in action and there are little pests attacking your lawn. If you’re grumbling about grubs ruining your relaxing days on the deck, you’ll be happy to know that Nutri-Lawn Ottawa has a few simple solutions. First, it’s important to know your foe. From there, you can decide on the best path to recovering your lawn. There are home DIY as well as professional lawn care services to get your yard back to its emerald splendour. Read on to find out how to combat grubs with lawn care services this summer.

What are grubs?
Grubs are actually the larvae of European chafers, Japanese beetles, Leather jackets, and June beetles. Despite the fact that they are the immature form of adult beetles, they cause an indisputable amount of ruckus to a typically healthy lawn. You’ll recognize them by their C-shaped, curved bodies, white or yellowish skin colour, and heads that are either tan or brown. They have six legs, that are, like most other bugs, quite spiny.

When is the damage done?
Grubs are particularly destructive in their growth and maturing period. At this time, their growing bodies need nourishment, and your lawn is the perfect supermarket. Depending on the type of grub you have in your lawn, this maturation period could take up to three years for a June beetle or one year for a European chafer. During this time, all of your attempts at lawn care services will be wasted on grub infestations.

Depending on the maturity of your grubs, lawn care damage is done at different times throughout the year. However, because most grub infestations aren’t perfectly timed so that every grub in your lawn is going through the exact same maturity period at the exact same time, damage can be done any time throughout April to October when the grubs are active and hungry. European chafer grubs can even be active as early as March or as late as November.

How can lawn care services help?
When you adjust your lawn care services accordingly, grubs will cease to be an issue. Now that pesticides are banned in Ontario, you’ll have to find other options to get rid of those grubs. At Nutri-Lawn Ottawa, we recommend beneficial nematodes.

Beneficial nematodes are small predators that will track and attack grubs, without harming your lawn. These little insects are only interested in grubs, however, so you don’t have to worry about harm to your children, pets, or yourself. These are an entirely environmentally friendly, natural method of lawn care.

Before you get your nematode application, Nutri-Lawn Ottawa recommends getting core aeration to create pathways for your nematodes to get deeper in the soil. Furthermore, you’ll want to keep your soil well hydrated during this time to ensure the survival of the nematodes.

Unfortunately, nematode application usually does not occur until August or September, when grubs are at their most vulnerable.

Lawn care for a grub-infested lawn
Until it’s time for your nematode application, you want to prevent more grubs from being born. Vacuum up or kill adult June beetles, European chafers, or Leather jackets as you see them. The more of these you have in your lawn, the more grubs will hatch.

Incorporate an adequate irrigation schedule into your lawn care practices. Your lawn only requires about 1-2 inches of water per week. These one to two inches should be offered in deep, long watering to guarantee the roots of your grass reach further into the soil. In doing so, your lawn’s roots will grow deeper, and therefore stronger. This is one of the more important tips from Nutri-Lawn Ottawa to increase the health of your lawn throughout a grub infestation.

If you’re not sure about how else you can adapt your lawn care services to benefit your lawn, contact Nutri-Lawn Ottawa today. We offer complimentary quotes to help you plan your 2014 lawn care services program around your personal needs.

Revitalizing Your Lawn for Spring With Burlington Landscape Services

Your lawn pays a pricey toll to the harsh winter weather. When the snow finally melts to reveal that first patch of grass, it may not be the emerald green you want it to be. For that reason, spring is the season for revitalizing Burlington landscape services. Just as you may want a deep soothing spa day following severe outdoor weather, your lawn wants the pedigree Nutri-Lawn Burlington lawn care services to bring back the beauty you remember from last summer.

Find out what you’re working with
The reality is that the type of soil your lawn has can determine the health of your lawn. If your lawn is made entirely of clay, your irrigation system is going to have a harder time getting water to your roots. Contrarily, if it’s all silt, your roots won’t be able to grab on. It’s time to test your soil to figure out what you’re working with, so you can adjust your landscape services accordingly.

A simple solution recommended by Nutri-Lawn Burlington is to lay down a layer of nutrient rich topsoil. Topdressing your yard will bring back the nutrients needed, and provide a healthy ground in which your grass can retain the moisture provided by your irrigation.

Fertilize with the proper level of pH
Maintaining a balanced pH in your soil is another essential step for regaining a healthy lawn. If you don’t already, include pH testing into your annual lawn care services.

Once you’ve discovered the pH levels of your soil, a Nutri-Lawn Burlington specialist can help you determine if you’re using the right fertilizer in your Burlington landscape services. You can also figure out if the type of grass you’ve put down is the right kind for your soil. It could be that your grass is having a difficult time surviving because it requires different levels of pH than what your soil has been providing. If this is the case, then it may be time for lawn renovations. Renovations are best taken care of before the extreme hot season hits.

Replace the old with the new
Is your tired old grass starting to look patchy and exhausted? It may be time to overseed. Overseeding is the process of adding new, fresh seed to patchy areas of your lawn. It brings back that thick, plush look that is so beautiful in a spring yard.

Beyond aesthetics, overseeding does a great job at helping your lawn protect against weeds. The renewed strength brought on by adding more grass seed fortifies against weeds that threaten to choke out weak roots. This strength also contributes to fending off lawn diseases, grub damage, and heat damage.

Reduce compaction caused by winter detritus
Compacted lawns have a harder time enjoying the nourishment of water and fertilizer. Reduce compaction by adding core aeration to your lawn care regimen. Core aeration punctures holes into your soil to relieve the pressure of a compacted lawn, and to offer tunnels through which nutrients can travel. The water then goes deeper into the soil, encouraging your roots to take a deeper, sturdier hold in the soil.

Nutri-Lawn Burlington also recommends dethatching to remove the thatch build up on your lawn’s surface. Thatch is the deposit of detritus that is tangled in your grass, and hinders water and fertilizer from reaching your grass roots. Removing this once or twice a year is a great way to ensure your Burlington landscape services aren’t falling on unresponsive grass.

Don’t hesitate to begin the revival of your lawn. Contact Nutri-Lawn Burlington today for a complimentary quote on our lawn care services.



Inside every company there is the heart and soul of the people who make its brand so valuable. At Nutrilawn we say “We Nourish Lawns and Lives.” That is why we have created our most meaningful idea. We call it re:nourish.

re:nourish is our program to nurture the communities around us – both near and far – by giving back to them their greenery. Every part of our organization, the employees of our corporate office and our franchisees, are committing themselves through various projects to making the environment more lush and more nourished.

Our Beliefs

  1. We believe that the idea and reality of community is the bedrock of a healthy society
  2. We believe that everyone can contribute in some way to the health of a community somewhere
  3. We believe that when we nourish a community we nurture its future

The way we organize our efforts we call From The Ground Up

  1. We find projects with which we can engage
  2. If we can bring our experience and expertise, as well as our passion, for healthy grass and exquisite irrigation to the project, we will
  3. If we can mobilize our whole franchise system to contribute to a project that helps the community, such as a Food Bank, we will
  4. We contribute individually and as a group

Posted by  on in Lawn Care

Congratulations to Kelly Scott and her team on winning the BC Scotties Provincial Tournament on January 21, 2013. Kelly and her teammates, Jeanna Schraeder, Sarah Wazeny and Sasha Carter will be competing in the Canadian National Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Kingston, Ontario in February 2013.

Kelly Scott, the Team Skip, is part of the Nutrilawn ownership group in Kelowna, B.C. and is an active member of the local community in Renourishing Lives through sports and various community programs.

Team Scott has represented British Colombia and Canada in National and World Championships. Team Scott demonstrates outstanding dedication and commitment to a winning record of accomplishment year after year, which serves as a role model to aspiring young athletes. Nutri-Lawn is proud to support this group of athletes in helping them achieve their sporting dreams and goals.

Team Scott has a history of winning at all levels and has set its sights to represent Canada at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

  • BC Scotties Tournament of Hearts Champions (2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
  • World Women’s Gold Medalist (2007)
  • World Women’s Bronze Medalist (2006)
  • 2 time Canadian Scotties Tournament of Hearts Champions (2006, 2007)
  • World Curling Tour “Team of the Year” (2006, 2007)
  • Canadian Olympic Trials Silver Medalist (2005)
  • BC Sports Hall of Fame Inductees (2008)
  • World Junior Women’s Gold Medalist (1995)

The entire Nutrilawn Family is cheering for Team Scott in their Championship quest. We invite you to follow Team Scott and enjoy the journey with Nutri-Lawn’s curling connection. You can view the team’s schedule and results with the following links:

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?


Extreme cold temperature conditions persisting for days, weeks and even months are nothing but normal to many parts of Canada during the winter months.  The winter of 2014 has proven to be this just this, with an exclamation point at the end of extreme cold temperatures lasting for months!  When the mercury dips below freezing the turfgrass plant is exposed to many extremes that can cause damage.  These freezing conditions cause damage, and Direct Low Temperature Kill is what this is known as.

The turfgrass plant in large part is comprised of water and when freezing temperatures occur, the water freezes forming ice crystals inside the turfgrass plant ultimately causing the damage.  Direct low temperature kill is most commonly a result when rapid drops in temperature occur, or when extreme cold temperatures persist.  Several factors can affect direct low temperature kill including:  the susceptibility of the turfgrass species, plant hardiness, rapidness of freezing, the number of times the plant freezes, and the rate of thawing.


Extreme Low Temperatures

Although there is no exact direct low temperature kill measurement or way to determine if, when, and how bad the damage could be, plant hardiness as it relates to turfgrass species tells us more about which species are more susceptible.  Creeping Bentgrass, and Kentucky Bluegrass are regarded as having very good plant hardiness whereas perennial ryegrass and fine fescue have poor plant hardiness in which case low temperature kill damage is a lot more apparent on these species.

An aggressive approach to speed up recovery in the damage areas include a combination of cultural practices.  Core aeration, overseeding, topdressing, and slitseeding may be required.

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?


Add winter desiccation to the long list of what can happen to your lawn during the winter months.  Winter Desiccation takes place when the turfgrass plant is in its dormant or semi-dormant stages and can cause varying degrees of damage severity.  All turfgrass species are prone to winter desiccation if the right conditions persist.  Winter Desiccation occurs when the leaves and other parts of the turfgrass plant are damaged often to the point of death because its roots are unable to supply enough water to keep up with the amount of water the turfgrass plant is losing to the atmosphere.

Prolonged snow coverage during the winter months is considered ideal and certainly helps reduce the risk of desiccation damage.  Snow provides valuable moisture, and acts like a blanket, insolating the turfgrass and covering it from the potential harsh winter winds and unfavorable conditions.   Without snow coverage, preventing damage from desiccation is difficult if susceptible site conditions exist or the weather conditions are less than ideal.  The most severe damage typically occurs when there is no snow coverage and Dry, windy conditions persist.  Generally, the worst affected spots in the lawn are in elevated areas, on exposed slopes, and well drained sites in sandy soils.

The extent of the desiccation damage can range from minor to severe.  If minor damage has occurred, the lawn should recover on its own during the spring when the lawn begins to actively grow and break dormancy.  If major damage has occurred, aggressive renovation practices will be required to repair these areas.  Cultural practices such as Core Aeration, Overseeding, Topdressing and Slitseeding may be required.

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?



Crown Hydration continues to be one of the most destructive yet least preventable forms of winter kill that causes damage to a lawn.  Crown hydration commonly occurs during the late winter months when warmer daytime temperatures cause the snow to melt followed by rapid freezing temperatures.  The worst affected areas are in the low lying, poorly drained soils that are prone to standing water.  Under these conditions the turfgrass crown begins to absorb water and become saturated.  Extreme temperature fluctuations cause thawing and rapid refreezing creating ice crystals in the turfgrass plant cells that ultimately rupture and cause plant death.

Predicting when and how extreme damage could be from crown hydration is very difficult when considering temperature extremes and other environmental conditions that the turfgrass is faced with.   There is no exact science that determines under what circumstances crown hydration will cause the most damage or the turfgrasses ability to withstand the susceptibility.  Eliminating standing water by improving soil drainage is one of the best methods to help prevent crown hydration.  Proper fall fertilizing, can also help prepare and improve the turfgrass plants hardiness for the winter months that will reduce the susceptibility to damage as well.

Damage caused by crown hydration can vary from extreme turf death to minor damage where the turf can recover on its own.  As mentioned above, poorly drained soils, and low lying areas are commonly the worst affected that will require the most repair to fix the damage.  A combination of cultural practices such as core aeration, overseeding, slitseeding and topdressing will help with re-establishing the damaged turf.  If drainage or poor soil conditions exist, it is recommend to address these problems to help prevent possible damage from occurring in the future.

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?

What Happens to Your Lawn During the Winter Months?


The effects of Ice coverage can cause varying degrees of lawn damage depending on the severity of the ice coverage, the length of exposure, and the hardiness of the turfgrass species effected.   Where snow coverage is generally considered desirable with the exception of the increased risk for snow mold disease, ice coverage on the other hand is more of a concern and is undesirable often causing more severe damage that requires renovation practices to speed up recovery.

The formation of ice coverage can take place from a number of different factors including freezing rain and rain, poorly drained soil and areas where standing water settles and freezes, and the natural melting of snow and refreezing as ice.   The critical duration of ice coverage before plant death starts to occur is usually somewhere between 30 – 120 days depending on the turfgrass species.  Creeping Bentgrass and Kentucky Bluegrass both have excellent winter hardiness making them less susceptible to winter kill related issues.   Fine fescue and perennial ryegrass have poor winter hardiness and are far more susceptible to ice damage and other winter kill causes.

Long durations of ice coverage significantly increase the chances for severe turf damage regardless of the turf species.  Plant death occurs as a result of ice coverage by the following reasons.  Carbon dioxide gas builds up and becomes toxic when it is trapped under the ice, crown hydration takes place when freezing and thawing occurs and plant cells rupture resulting in death, and the plants hardiness is weakened and reduces its susceptibility to resist damage.

The extent of the turf damage is first visible when the snow and ice melt away, and in many cases this damage may be isolated to only certain areas of the lawn specifically in the lower lying spots and also in the shaded areas where the ice coverage persisted the longest.  If complete death has occurred, an aggressive combination of renovation practices such as slitseeding, topdressing, and core aeration will help repair these areas.  If the damage is sparse and only appears minor, the lawn can usually recover on its own or a light seeding can help speed the recovery up.

Coping with the Big Defrost: Spring Lawn Maintenance in Ottawa

With the enjoyable advantages of spring and summer comes the added work of spring lawn maintenance in Ottawa. Lawn drainage is a big dilemma that many homeowners will be faced with as the temperature continues to slowly rise. However, dealing with the Big Defrost and the accompanying drainage problems doesn’t have to be difficult.

If you’re having major drainage issues, you may have to rework your lawn a bit, or change your Ottawa lawn maintenance methods. Remember that prevention methods are always worth it when it comes to avoiding the heady costs and extensive amounts of time that goes into fixing a ruined yard or basement. Read on for tips from Nutri-Lawn Ottawa that will help you keep your yard and house from becoming swamps.

Don’t Let the Snow Gather
As fun as parties may be, the last thing you want is for the snow to gather in your yard for a little end of winter farewell shindig. When your snow gathers in one area of your yard, the soil in that area will struggle to soak up all of the excess water as the snow melts. When the snow does eventually melt, you’ll find those patches ruined while the rest of your yard is ready for spring. Spread the snow around to prevent this.

If your yard becomes patchy anyway, you can overseed to bring life back to your yard. Overseeding is a common lawn maintenance technique that involves introducing grass seed to the patchy areas to balance out the thickness of your lawn. Nutri-Lawn Ottawa has a successful overseeding program to turn your lawn into a sea of plush green grass.

Level Your Lawn
If you’re having issues with water dripping into your basement when the snow melts each spring, you probably need to work re-levelling into your lawn care preparation. Lawns that are horizontally balanced or that slightly slope back toward the house are more likely to encourage leakage into the basement.

Check your lawn’s levelling. If your lawn has one of the two levelling issues mentioned above, then it’s time to rework the slope of your lawn so it goes toward the road. A downward slope will carry the melt down to the road, successfully preventing water from draining into your home. While some homeowners are dissuaded from doing this because of the work it takes, re-levelling your lawn is considerably less work than dealing with leakage and is a highly successful method of improving drainage.

Dig a Trench
Lawns that have especially tough drainage issues may need a trench to help direct water off of your lawn onto the street. French drains and downspout drains are common types for residential Ottawa lawn maintenance.

As the rainy season picks up, you may also want to consider rain harvesting. Though it doesn’t help with the big melt at surface level, this is a particularly handy tool in spring lawn maintenance in Ottawa during the rainy season. The water you collect in rain barrels can then be used for your gardens. Rain harvesting has the added benefit of being an effective form of water conservation to save you money and to protect water sources, as well as keeping a water supply on hand in case of drought.

Include Basins in Your Ottawa Lawn Maintenance
It’s not enough to maintain your lawn alone. At Nutri-Lawn Ottawa, we recommend maintaining your surrounding basins, troughs, trenches, and drains. As spring hits, clear out debris from your troughs, any drainage trenches, and the catch basins on the street in front of your house, if you have any. This is a good habit to work into your spring lawn care and maintenance practices to ensure your drainage is effective.

Don’t wait to start on your spring lawn maintenance in Ottawa for 2014. Contact Nutri-Lawn Ottawa today to begin preparing your lawn for a successful spring and summer.