What Does A Frigid Winter Mean For Your Lawn?

Winter Lawn Care - snow Covered Grass

Many people think that their lawns die in the winter. Did all the hard work in prepping your lawn for winter go un-noticed? If you live in New England, or any region that gets below freezing, you might notice your grass turns a shade of brown. While green grass is synonymous with being healthy, brown grass doesn’t necessarily mean your lawn is unhealthy.

Scientists now know there is healthy microorganism activity in organic soil in the winter, which is a building block towards a healthy lawn.

Study shows microorganisms are at work all year long

Research teams from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Umeå University in Sweden have determined the capacity of microorganisms to grow in frozen ground is similar to that of the summer half of the year. Mats Öquist, who directed the study states, “Although the growth rate is lower, soil is working throughout the entire year and even has potential for growth in below freezing temps”.

In the past, it was thought that microorganisms couldn’t grow in frozen ground but only give off a certain amount of carbon dioxide instead. The degrading of carbon in the soil is a crucial component in terms of uncovering future climate changes. We now know that even during the winter months, our soil is having a positive impact on the carbon balance of our ecosystems.

Winter Lawn Care - Frost on Grass

Healthy winter soil and why it’s important

Soil is the foundation for spectacular tree and plant growth. Without healthy soil, gardeners wouldn’t have rows of breathtaking flowers to enjoy. Farmers wouldn’t have copious amounts of crops for us to consume and certain animals wouldn’t have habitats to live in. Soil microbes such as bacteria and fungi, live in the soil year round and can be active in the winter months. Without healthy soil, bacteria and fungi would be prone to freezing. These microorganisms continue to breakdown organic carbon despite the freezing temperatures and frozen ground.


BONUS: Download our free guide to achieving a naturally healthy lawn.

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An organic lawn care treatment program promotes healthy and active soil year round by feeding it the nutrients it naturally craves. It promotes the growth of organic matter and microorganisms, and leads to a greener, safer, healthier, and a more resilient lawn that’s able to hold up over winter.

The more snow the better for your lawn

It might sound strange at first, however the more snow cover on your lawn the better off your soil is. As temperatures drop below freezing, water within the top layers of the soil will freeze. This is called the “frost layer”. Freezing/thawing conditions along with wind and temperature extremes can all be detrimental to your lawn without proper coverage. The snow acts as a blanket, protecting and insulating the soil from the effects of Mother Nature.

The insulation barrier holds in heat stored in your soil during the warmer months. This allows the soil to continue to breakdown carbon. Also, perennial plants and grasses will be able to withstand the freezing temps by developing root systems below the frost layer. These root systems are important because they can release water from their cells to the surrounding soil. When water is released from these roots, it cuts the risk of internal water expanding and damaging the root cells. When the snow melts and spring arrives, your lawn will be ready to grow and flourish.

Avoid Winter Lawn Care Stress - Snowman on Brown Grass

Minimize winter stress for healthy lawns come spring

  1. Excessive lawn traffic during the winter months can be harmful to your lawn. This is especially true on frozen grass. When you walk on unfrozen grass, the blades bend and move under your feet. When the grass is frozen, the blades lose their elasticity and break. Keeping your sidewalks clear is a great way to deter people from walking on your frozen grass.
  2. Standing water and poor drainage can affect your lawn’s health. Standing water that freezes with a drop of temperature can lead to damage of the crowns of grass. Fill in any areas that tend to hold pools of water and make sure your gutters are draining appropriately.
  3. Salt and sand can hinder your lawn’s soil and growth of grass plants in the winter. While we cannot control the amount of salt and sand put down by city officials, we can control how much we use. Try not to salt or sand your walkways excessively. This with help keep the damage to lawns at a minimum. We recommend using an Eco-Friendly Ice Melter if you need to melt icy spots.

BONUS: Download our free guide to achieving a naturally healthy lawn.

Click Here


So even though your lawn may be hidden by snow and look dead during the winter, there is actually a lot happening. If it’s properly fed with an organic lawn care program throughout the year, your soil and lawn will use the winter rejuvenate and prepare for a healthy growing season when warmer weather set in.


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– Article written by Joy Adamonis – writingjoy.com

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