Spring Lawn Care in Indiana: Managing the Thaw-Freeze-Thaw Cycle
You know how on that one perfect day every year when the sun comes out and the snow melts, winter is officially over for good, and spring lawn care season begins?
Right. Maybe in a children’s book.
Here in central Indiana, we know to hesitate before declaring spring has come for good. We are helpless against Mother Nature’s cruel whims. But just because the crazy thaw-freeze-thaw cycle can cause havoc on our lawns, that doesn’t mean we can’t give our plants a fighting chance to thrive.
AT FIRST, DON’T DO ANYTHING
The first signs of thaw are superficial. The air temperature may be warm enough to have melted the snow, but the soil under the surface will remain frozen for a couple of days.
That makes this a bad time to walk on your grass. Unlike after a rain in the summer when everything is pliable, frozen soil has no give. Your footfalls break the grass roots. Best to leave the lawn alone.
BREAK UP ANY SNOW MOLD
After a couple days, go ahead and venture out to check for snow mold. There are two types common to this area that can develop under the snow: gray and pink. You can prevent this next year with proper fertilization.
For now, if you see mold growing (sort of like cobwebs blanketing the grass blades) simply break the mold up with a rake. This will encourage air circulation and help the grass dry. You may want to wear a mask so you don’t breathe in the mold spores.
TREAT SALT DAMAGE
Salt is great for melting ice and keeping your walkways safe. Salt also kills grass. Check for brown grass along the edges of your lawn that touch areas where you applied salt over the winter.
If you see it, you may be able to reverse the damage by applying gypsum soil. This calcium- and sulfur-rich mixture encourages new growth. There’s no harm putting it down now, even if the ground freezes again.
APPLY FROST BLANKETS
If your perennial plants have begun to bloom because the weather got deceptively lovely for a few days, you may want to cover them with frost blankets or covers. This will help them ride out the next freeze.
These sheets of woven polypropylene (a kind of plastic) are excellent at capturing ground heat. The blankets are light, so they don’t crush your plants. They are also breathable enough not to impede gaseous exchange.
ADDRESS STANDING WATER
Standing water can cause major problems, like encourage algae or moss growth, or simply drown your grass. The short-term solution for small instances of standing water is to add topsoil to spread it out.
A good way to prevent this issue is to aerate your yard, or punch small holes into it (using an aerator). However, if you often get standing water after snow thaw or rain over a sizeable amount of surface area, you need to consider a drainage solution.
DRAINAGE? THAT’S USUALLY WHERE WE COME IN.
For major landscaping work such as digging trenches or installing a French drain, your best bet is to call Clean Cut Lawn & Landscape. Work with our experienced landscaping techs to make a plan that will keep your lawn from becoming a swamp next year.
While you’re at it, we’ll be happy to talk to you about all the other ways we can help you with spring lawn care … and lawn care this summer, fall and next winter, too.
Contact us now to learn more.
Clean Cut Lawn & Landscape
7415 W Jackson St
Muncie, IN 47304-9759