Mild winter and the impacts on your Lawn
Mild winter sounds like a pleasant enough symptom of an increasingly variable climate. Less snow and fewer hard freezes means less hassle and less misery for many residents of the Greater Richmond area. However, there can be some serious long term consequences for lawns and landscaping when a mild winter transitions into an unusually warm and humid spring.
Mild winter lawn care requirements encompass a greater focus on pests and diseases that grow in force as a result of the easier temperatures. Deep, prolonged freezes significantly reduce the amount of fungal spores in an environment like a lawn and keep overwintering bugs under control for a longer duration. As a result, the spring and summer following a mild winter see a significant surge in both fungal lawn diseases as well as insect populations.
Where your lawn is concerned, there are several issues that have a greater chance of presenting a problem after a mild winter. First, the likelihood of developing fungus in the lawn is higher. Diseases like red thread, a cosmetic issue that self resolves after turning parts of the yard a reddish brown, and brown patch, a serious issue that can kill off great parts of a lawn quickly, are more likely to occur in otherwise resistant parts of the lawn and can show up abnormally early. In 2019, signs of brown patch were already becoming apparent as soon as late April, which is a month ahead of what is typically expected.
Second, because insect populations are more likely to surge all at once and earlier in the year, bugs that can be a threat to the lawn like white grubs and chinch bugs can appear rapidly and aggressively. These insects can do severe damage to a lawn and thrive on warm, humid environments. With both of these issues, it is important to monitor your lawn daily and consider investing in preventive treatments.
Aside from the threats to your lawn, a mild winter can end up increasing the threats to you, your family, and your pets as well. Parasitic pests like ticks become more prevalent in the spring after a mild winter, which is why tick control becomes a hot topic around April and May. Ticks carry myriad diseases that can be life threatening, which is why you should always use caution when exposure is possible. In addition to ticks, mosquitoes and fleas can be a nuisance and issue as well.
While no one can control the weather and the impact it has on our community and environment, there are proactive ways that homeowners and turf management and landscape maintenance service providers can adapt and reduce the damage done by meteorological fluctuations. Education and vigilance are key to remaining aware of signs and symptoms of pest or disease issues. Preventive care as well is valuable to reduce the risk and impact of disease and infestations. To learn more about these options, contact your service provider today.
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