What happened to spring? Summer seemed to have been spring to the punch! It appears we will be shattering record highs for the next few days. This being said it is important to note a couple of things coming out of winter.
Here in the upper Midwest areas of Milwaukee, Madison, Rockford and the Fox Valley area we see a wide variety of issues coming out of winter.
The first things you may have noticed when your lawn reappeared from its white, wintery state are matted down, white or pinkish grass, vein-like runs throughout the lawn, debris scattered on your lawn near the road or driveway and possible salt damage. Do not worry, much of these problems will take care of themselves with a little of your help.
· The white or pinkish patches of grass that are matted down are caused by a fungus called snow mold.
o You typically see this where heavy amounts of snow were piled up the longest. Taking a plastic leaf rake and lightly raking these areas to help them breath will be all the turf needs to recover within a month or so.
· Sometimes you many notice vein-like runs of grass debris throughout your lawn that were not there in the fall.
o This is noticed most in lawns that are near green spaces, prairies, woods or have lots of ornamental beds surrounding the turf. The damage is caused by a rodent called a “vole.”
o Voles are like field mice or “above ground moles” that you do not see in the summer because they stay close to fields, woods, prairies or other areas where they have cover to ensure they do not have encounters with hawks or other predators.
o Using a plastic leaf rake you will need to lightly rake through these areas to remove the dead grass that was chewed and tunneled through. This grass will be removed very easily as it is not anchored to the root system anymore.
o Re-seeding these areas can be beneficial but with proper fertilization these areas should thicken in naturally by late spring.
· You can use the same leaf rake to help the turf breath in areas where there is debris scattered from snow plowing.
o By raking these areas, the debris will settle into the turf and become unnoticeable within a month or two. There is no need for heavy raking in any of the events listed above.