How You’re Damaging Your Lawn By . . . Walking On It

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paths damage lawn Before you ask . . . no, we are not suggesting that instead of walking on your grass you invest in a Marty McFly-style hoverboard. (But if you do own one of those, please send us pictures.) Winter is a great season, isn’t it? It’s the time of year when we don’t give a second thought to how healthy our grass is underneath all that snow (or, lately, ice). It goes dormant in the fall, awakens from its slumber in the spring, and then we start the taking-care-of-the-lawn seasons. Easy, simple. Did you know, though, that the simplest activity you do every day might actually be damaging your lawn? Yep, walking on it could be hurting your grass. Here’s the thing: Whether we’re walking around the side of the house to the shed, out back to the garage, or to some other frequented destination, most of us walk the same path until we’ve packed down that snow tighter than a sumo wrestler in a smart car. Dogs can be a problem, too: they don’t like to get their paws cold, so once they’ve worn down a path through the yard, you can bet they’ll stick to it when they go outside to do their business. The problem? Walking that same path over and over throughout the winter can really take a toll on your lawn. Come spring, you’ll notice that it’s the last area to green up, and might even struggle to thrive all season. Traversing on snow-covered grass causes compaction, which can damage the tops of the grass plants or create conditions for snow mold, a fungal disease, to develop. The same is true for grass with a layer of frost on it: Unlike in the warm months, when grass is elastic, trekking across frost-covered grass will break the plants and slow their recovery in the spring. making snow track on your lawn

So for the sake of your grass, keep these winter lawn care tips in mind:

  • Keep sidewalks and driveways clear to encourage their use. Can’t do much damage to concrete!
  • Clear the yard for your dogs. If you want to use a snowblower, make sure to raise it to the highest setting—don’t worry, you won’t damage the grass.
  • Designate a spot for building igloos, making snowmen, etc. Pick some place that’s out of the way, where you won’t notice a little lawn damage.
  • Blaze new trails! A lot of compaction in a single area is bad for your lawn, but a tiny bit of compaction spread across the yard will help ease the burden overall.
Happy winter! P.S.  In addition to taking care of your grass, don't forget about your feathered friends this winter! Check out our tips on feeding birds in the winter.