When The Snow Cover Is Gone – The Lawn Can Be A Mess
The problem can be a function of snow mold, a fungal disease, and/or voles, mouse-like critters that make paths on the surface of the turf under the snow cover.
Snow mold is a collective term for fungal diseases that infect grass under snow cover. It is most common on lawns that have been covered by heavy snow throughout the winter. When the snow finally melts in spring, it reveals patches up to 2 feet across covered with white, pink, or gray fungus. Often snow mold occurs where snow is packed down by foot traffic.
To repair damaged areas, loosen up matted grass to improve air circulation. Avoid overfeeding with nitrogen fertilizer in the fall, and remove thatch if it is more than ¼ inch thick. Avoid walking on the lawn during the winter, especially if there is snow cover. As spring weather arrives the grass will likely turn green and begin to look terrific again. If two weeks after your lawn has greened up you still have the grey patches, that grass is probably dead and you will need to reseed those areas just as you need to reseed spots with serious vole damage.
Dogs Another source of a problem - Symptoms of dog urine damage include an area of necrotic tissue surrounded by a margin of a very healthy, dark green grass. Often damage is most noticeable after snow cover is removed from an area that has been used regularly by dogs.
Mailman's Path - When there is snow cover for most of a winter grass can be killed by repeated tromping by a mailman taking the short cut from the neighbor's yard or your kids taking a short cut to the school bus stop. The grass may come back on its own, but be prepared to have to reseed that path.
Finally the vole paths - Then sometimes parts of your lawn looks like some alien used a laser beam to leave a squiggly mazelike message on your lawn. Unfortunately it was earthly creatures -- voles -- that had their way with many of our yards this winter.
Voles look a lot like mice. While mice have pointy noses and long tails, voles have blunt noses and short tails. Voles experience a major population explosion every four or five years. This phenomenon is rarely noticed unless it coincides with a winter with extended snow cover. Don’t panic, as spring rejuvenates the landscape those paths will disappear. For more information about voles click here