How to Repair Your Winter Damaged Grass

by | Apr 7, 2015

West Michigan had a much milder winter this year, and so far spring has come slowly and steadily without a lot of excess rain. Fortunately for your lawn less waterlogging means that you will not have as much damaged grass to repair this spring, but there are still some smaller problems you may have to address, including salt damage, bare spots, and snow mold, in addition to any complications that may have occurred as a result of less than perfect lawn or climate conditions. Lets break these down.
Salt damage. While the snow plow is essential to keeping Michigan going through the winter, the salt that is scattered by trucks to de-ice the roads and make them navigable does damage grass and plants. It should be obvious where the salt landed; there will be brown spots. Salt pulls moisture from the soil, making it harder for all plants to survive. This is why, according to legend, the Roman general Scipio Africanus ordered the rebellious city of Carthage to be leveled and salted during the Third Punic War – so that nothing would ever grow there again.
Spreading pelletized gypsum, or calcium sulfate, over the affected area will help encourage new growth. Make sure to water the area well so that any remaining salts dissolve and leach away, and avoid planting anything very sensitive in areas that you know are likely to see a lot of salt next winter.

Bare spots. These may be a result of fungi, bugs, or other pests, or they could come about because of imperfect soil conditions, too much shade, soil compaction, poor drainage, or other factors. Regardless of cause, if you want a lush, attractive lawn, youll have to figure out the cause of the problem, address it, and either re-turf or re-seed.
When the ground temperature reaches 52 degrees, that is when grass seed will sprout and grow. In Michigan we still have a bit more time to work the area, then. Clear away any leaves or lawn debris, lightly thatching the bare spot until it is smooth, scattering new grass seed, and then covering with a thin layer of topsoil and/or straw to protect it and keep the moisture in. Make sure this area remains well watered until the grass has had a chance to fully establish itself.
Snow mold. The conditions that cause snow mold have to be addressed in the fall, with timed applications of fungicide and fertilizer, but if it does appear, a vigorous thatching with a rake followed by mowing off the tips of the affected grass should help.
As always PROCARE offers full landscaping and lawn care maintenance services. If your lawn does not look as beautiful or as lush as you would like, we can help diagnose what the problem is and repair the underlying conditions so you can avoid this happening again in the future. Call Dirk at PROCARE today to schedule your consultation..