‘The Snowman’ has a lot to answer for – as walking in the air would be a fine alternative to walking on your lawn when heavy snow falls! If you’re proud of your lawn and want to keep it looking its absolute best, you’ll know to avoid walking on it.
However, should you forget in amongst the flurry of frivolity, here’s the damage that walking on a snowy lawn can do.
Walking on a snowy lawn causes compaction
The grass on your lawn is a living thing that gets most of what it needs from its soil (water, nutrients) and a little help from the sun. When your soil is of good composition (clay, sand, silt in balance) and is free draining, your grass will have the best conditions to grow. However, if your soil is of poor makeup and struggles to drain, it will be increasingly susceptible to compaction.
Compaction occurs when the surface of your lawn (top layer of soil) receives a lot of heavy play/walking and therefore begins to harden. The best way to stop this is preventive measures – regularly aerating your lawn to improve drainage and dispersal of nutrients and then ensuring you don’t walk on the lawn when compaction is more likely to happen – i.e. cold weather and snow. Our cold UK weather causes the lawn's surface to harden much quicker, but it shouldn’t cause any lasting damage when aerated. Snow worsens this hardening, so if there’s one you can do to stop it from further compacting your lawn, don’t walk on it!
A compacted snowy lawn leads to disease
Compaction then causes many issues with your lawn. The grass may struggle to recuperate in warmer weather and become yellow and straw-like or may begin to suffer from disease and die completely if ignored. The disease most likely to affect your lawn from compaction is the lawn lover’s arch enemy – Fusarium. Fusarium causes your grass to become yellow/brown in patches across your lawn and will kill it off if left to its own devices. Of course, dead patches can eventually be reseeded, but you could save yourself a lot of heartaches if you prevent fusarium from culminating in the first place in two short steps. Regularly aerate your lawn to avoid compaction and protect it with a Slow Release: Autumn / Winter fertiliser that is low in nitrogen and won’t make things worse. And last but not least – keep activity on your cold or snowy lawn to an absolute minimum.
Frost scorch & lasting prints
Suppose you ignore our earlier advice and opt for festive frolicking (sometimes unavoidable with over-excited kids!) once the snow melts away. In that case, you may find that your footprints will be imprinted into your grass, and while the rest of your grass will be green, the prints may be noticeably yellow. As preventative measures are now out the window, your options are to repair. The grass is relatively hardy – by giving your lawn a feed with a Quick Release: Autumn / Winter fertiliser and again in early spring with a Quick Release: Spring / Summer fertiliser, it will have all the nutrients it needs to bounce right back!