Turf Repair Priorities – after a long, cold winter

 

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Turf Repair Priorities – after a long, cold winter

With the coming of spring season, after a long, cold, and snowy winter – common signs of significant turf damage will become visible – and repair operations will be a priority in the early landscape season.

Problems of various types will be found: 1.) Pink Snow Mold – due to long-term, heavy snow cover; 2.) Salt Damage/Die-back – due to repeated snow removal activities; 3.) Vole Damage – burrows and tracks within the turf, under heavy snow cover.



Repair and renovation options will vary, depending on the severity of the damage, and the extent of the over-all areas affected. This year – with the lingering cold weather – patience may be necessary, as site conditions will be slow to warm up and dry out, which is critical in allowing for repair operations to be effectively implemented. Thorough assessment of the severity of the damage, prior to physical action, can assure that areas of healthy turf will not be un-necessarily disturbed by the renovation operations.

Repair and renovation options will vary, depending on the severity of the damage, and the extent of the over-all areas affected. This year – with the lingering cold weather – patience may be necessary, as site conditions will be slow to warm up and dry out, which is critical in allowing for repair operations to be effectively implemented. Thorough assessment of the severity of the damage, prior to physical action, can assure that areas of healthy turf will not be un-necessarily disturbed by the renovation operations.

Commonly seen – Spring Turf Damage:

1.) Pink Snow Mold – a common mold occurring within turf areas buried beneath heavy snow cover for extended periods. This may be seen especially in turf that has a heavy thatch layer.

     

Common repair operations for snow mold will include light to heavy raking and debris removal, combined with over-seeding – to promote re-growth and infill to affected areas. In extreme cases – turf aeration may be recommended to further break down the thatch layer in which the mold growth may be prevalent.

2.) Salt Damage & Die-Back – due to accumulated salts and de-icing materials. This past winter season has demanded numerous, repeated de-icing for sidewalks and parking lots – meaning accumulation of salt from snow piles - dumped into adjacent turf areas. Also – mechanical damage from plows and vehicles – will need to be repaired.

            

Repair operations for salt damage can vary from complete removal and replacement of turf – to less intensive soil top-dressing and over-seeding – depending on the extent of damaged area, as well as, to the severity of the die-back. In most cases – applying Gypsum (in pelletized form), along with thorough watering of the affected areas, will help to flush the excess salts through the soil.


3.) Vole Damage – from burrows and trails through the turf. Voles (also known as meadow voles, or meadow mice) are common rodents active underneath the heavy snow cover – eating the grass foliage and roots, and creating trails, travelling to and from different locations.

    

For most occurrences of vole damaged turf – a vigorous raking of the affected areas, with excess debris accumulation removed – is the needed operation for repair. New grass foliage will fill in thin areas as the areas warm up. In extreme conditions of damage, some over-seeding may help increase new turf growth.