The often harsh winter weather conditions can have equally harsh and damaging effects on your garden. The best advice for the health of your lawn is to keep off the grass as much as possible during frosty spells. Although when the conditions become icy, an additional, perhaps less well known danger pops up to pose a threat to your luscious, green lawn.
The spreading of salt on our roads and pavements is a widely used means to prevent slips and falls in the icy weather. Whilst this causes the snow and ice to melt creating safer conditions for all those out and about in the treacherous conditions, behind the scenes it may also be causing damage to your lawn should it reach the confines of your garden. The addition of de-icing salt will lead to increased levels of salt in the soil which will in turn affect the process of osmosis and cause the turf to behave as if it is deficient in moisture. This will often mean turf becomes discolored and may begin to thin in areas. The damage caused may not be noticeable until the spring when the grass should begin to grow again. Although, normally by this time it is too late to treat and the damage is irreparable.
Fortunately, however, there are a number of ways to combat the problem. In terms of preventive measures, some suggest spreading a thin layer of peat moss across the grass area, before the salt spreaders arrive. This will neutralize the harmful sodium and reduce its effects on your lawn. There are also certain types of turf, such as fescue or rye-fescue mixes which are more resilient to the salt and may be worth investing in for the trouble spots in your garden. In terms of what you should do if the damage has already been done, there are methods to reduce the salt content of the soil. You may wish to water the affected area towards the end of winter, although this is often impractical as vast amounts of water may be required when the salt content of the soil is high. For soil of moderate salt content, rainy may address the problem for you. Alternately, you may wish to try spreading a neutralizing agent over the affected area to reduce the salt levels in the soil and allow healthy growth again.
By following the above measures, you can stay safe over the winter months happy in the knowledge that you will not be sacrificing the health of your beautiful lawn.