How & Why Your Grass Died Over Winter

Green grass with dead brown patches or spots

For some, lawn care is a big deal. When winter comes to an end, your grass may look like it’s gone through the wringer. Looking dead, discoloured, patchy, and unkempt, it can be a long road to get it back to health. No matter how hard you might try, the “winter kill” will often leave you with brown patches and exposed earth turning your lawn into an eyesore. You may ask yourself how and why your grass died over the winter, even after a long summer of lawn maintenance. We’ll discuss the reasons why your grass dies over the winter: 

Reasons Why 

Snow Mould 

Snow can cover the ground before the temperatures begin to drop. If your lawn hasn’t had time to freeze over before the first snowfall, the moisture may add to the development of several fungal diseases known as snow mould. You’ll start to see the effects of snow mould once the snow begins to melt away; it appears as a fuzzy or crusty patch in various spots on your lawn. It will eventually die from exposure to the sun and dries up, but your grass might not be able to recover on its own. 

Cold Desiccation 

Blankets of snow on your grass can be a good and bad thing. While it can cause issues, such as snow mould, it can also act as an insulator protecting your lawn from cold exposure. Any uncovered spots on your lawn can fall victim to cold desiccation. Cold desiccation happens when the temperatures freeze the ground solid. The roots of your grass will then freeze up, making it difficult for any moisture to spread. It may eventually lead to the death of your grass and plant life. 

Crown Freeze 

If the warm weather is followed by a deep freeze, the crowns of your turfgrass can be killed. This usually happens at the end of winter, heading into spring, or when frost forms unexpectedly in warmer climates. It’s a very common reason why lawns look dead after the winter. When plant crowns absorb water, they will freeze and die due to the fast expansion of frost. 


Voles are small rodents that may play a role in the death of your grass. Voles will usually tunnel around your lawn. They tend to eat plant roots, which leaves slim bands or spots of dead grass in their aftermath. The problem with voles is that you probably won’t see the vole trails until after the snow has melted. 


How To Keep Your Grass From Dying 

There isn’t much that can be done during the winter to ensure your lawn stays fresh and green. However, there are steps you can take to keep it healthy before the snow arrives:

  • Fertilize the yard in early spring or after the frost goes away. 
  • It’s also recommended to fertilize your lawn in the fall as it will strengthen roots and increase nitrogen storage
  • Apply only the recommended amount, as you don’t want further damages to your lawn.
  • Spread cool-weather grass seed, evenly sprinkling some over the lawn in preparation for the cold weather ahead.
  • Rake and water the lawn. It will ensure that any soil clumps are broken up and that the seeds are covered. 
  • Keep your yard clean of debris, leaves, etc. You don’t want to smother your grass. 

Keeping up with lawn maintenance can be a bothersome task with fruitless results. By contacting one of the best Winnipeg lawn care services possible, you can guarantee your grass will look as good as new. They’ll work hard to ensure your lawn is well cared for, especially after any harsh winter months. 

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