Greetings, lawn lovers! It is I, The Grass Expert, here to talk to you about a dastardly winter lawn care issue that affects many a Canadian around this time of year: winter desiccation.
Winter desiccation takes place when the turfgrass plant is in its dormant or semi-dormant stages, and can cause varying degrees of damage severity to a lawn. 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.
Don't let winter desiccation lead you to winter desperation this year! Read out latest blog to learn more about this winter lawn care issue.
Snow Coverage Is Key
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 if the weather conditions are less than ideal. The most severe turf winter damage typically occurs when there is no snow coverage and dry, windy conditions persist. Generally, the spots that see the most damage are in elevated areas, on exposed slopes, and well drained sites in sandy soils.
What Does Damage Look Like?
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.
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