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Is Snow Damaging to My Kentucky Blue Grass Lawn?

Can Snow Damage Kentucky Blue Grass?

When we received our first snowfall of the season, I was worried that our new grass might be damaged from the frigid cold and heaviness that snow often carries. After much research and checking my grass every so often, I now understand how snow affects Kentucky Blue Grass.

So, is snow damaging to my Kentucky Blue Grass lawn? The answer is no – snow isn’t damaging to grass. Snow will not damage your Kentucky Blue Grass lawn if the sun is allowed to melt the snow off. It can prevent sunlight from reaching Kentucky Blue Grass leaves, but as long as the snow does not remain on the grass for an extended period of time, there should be little or no negative impact.

Homeowners can rest assured that snow usually does not damage your grass However, it is smart to understand the negative effects that snow can have on your lawn. Snow may be a good insulator for grass, but too much snow can cause Kentucky Blue Grass to become weak.

Negative Impacts of Snow on Your Grass

The negative impact of snow on your grass comes when Kentucky Blue Grass is exposed to moisture and cold weather over several consecutive days without sufficient light, causing it to go dormant.

If you are noticing discoloration in spots where the snow remains piled up on your lawn for several days straight, this could be because there may have been areas of Kentucky Blue Grass that were already exhibiting signs of dormancy due to lack of light. Snow may have prevented light from reaching these areas, causing more Kentucky Blue Grass to go dormant.

Another negative impact of snow on your grass is the fact that too much snow can cause damage to Kentucky Blue Grassroots, if not allowed to melt off or be removed by homeowners raking it away.

Snow cover may prevent the sun from warming the ground which in turn prevents melting. Allowing the snow to remain on top of the grass for extended periods of time may allow ice crystals to form under the snow and literally cut up grass root systems like a knife through butter.

Snow damage will typically only occur when there are at least 6 inches of accumulation above Kentucky Blue Grass crowns (the area where new growth occurs).

Recommendations for Snow Removal from Grass

It is highly recommended to remove snow from Kentucky Blue Grass when it begins to accumulate. Removing the snow will prevent damage that too much-accumulated snow can cause. This would involve removing snow when there are several inches of accumulation or allowing it to melt off in small amounts over a long period of time.

If you choose not to remove snow from your grass after an accumulation has occurred, make sure sunlight reaches the grass by raking the snow away with a shovel or blower.
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You also have the option of using a push broom to sweep alongside Kentucky Blue Grass leaves. Snow may remove the light from reaching your grass, but if done gradually and carefully, should not hurt your lawn. Neighbors might find this odd at first. However, they will hopefully be inspired to do the same to their lawn.

If your grass is already exhibiting signs of dormancy after receiving several inches of snowfall, it may be too late to reverse the effects on your lawn. Snow accumulation lasting more than several days can lead to permanent damage and loss of Kentucky Blue Grass blades that will never return again.

This is especially common in areas where there are harsh winters or on Kentucky Blue Grass that has decreased sunlight exposure time due to surrounding trees growing taller throughout the years.

If you can’t seem to get rid of the snow from your grass after an accumulation of more than 6 inches, you might want to contact a local landscaper or culturalist who specializes in Kentucky Blue Grass.

What Is Snow Mold?

Snow mold is a fungus that grows on grass blades during winter. It can cause Kentucky Blue Grass to turn yellow and brown, but will not hurt the roots of the grass.

Snow mold is caused by too much moisture freezing over an extended period of time on top of Kentucky Blue Grass leaves. It will typically go away with warmer weather or after several days of no precipitation. Snow mold can be more noticeable on Kentucky Blue Grass than other types of grasses.

Is Kentucky Blue Grass Tolerant to Extreme Cold?

Kentucky bluegrass is tolerant to extreme cold. It can be planted in USDA zones three through nine, but it will not survive if the temperature drops below -8 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit are not tolerant of Kentucky bluegrass. The warmest zone for this type of grass is USDA zone eight, where the average summertime high is 80 degrees or less.

During the winter months, temperatures are between 10 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit on average. If there’s any snow on the ground during these winter months, then no more than an inch of snow should fall per day to keep Kentucky bluegrass healthy.

Kentucky bluegrass is tolerant enough to handle cold weather conditions like snow and freezing temperatures, but not for an extended period.

Why Can’t I Plant Kentucky Blue Grass If I Live in Zone 10?

Even though Kentucky bluegrass is tolerant to extreme cold, it cannot survive if the temperature drops below -8 degrees Fahrenheit. The average summertime high for zone eight is 80 degrees or less. This makes it the warmest zone for this type of grass. Temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit are not tolerant of Kentucky bluegrass either.

Therefore, even though planting Kentucky Bluegrass means tolerating extreme cold conditions, there is no more place to tolerate hot temperatures since plants like this enjoy cooler climates better than hotter environments.

At What Temperature Does Kentucky Blue Grass Become Dormant?

Snow mold typically starts to occur at about 30° F and becomes dormant at 0° F. Too much snow can turn Kentucky Blue Grass dormant in just a few days when not removed from your lawn.

If snow accumulates, it is advised to remove the snow within 12 hours or less to prevent damage that may lead to loss of Kentucky Blue Grass blades for good. In the event that Kentucky Blue Grass has already lost its blades due to an accumulation of snow, it will not return this season.

If your grass is already exhibiting signs of dormancy after receiving several inches of snowfall, it may be too late to reverse the effects on your lawn. Snow accumulation lasting more than several days can lead to permanent damage and loss of Kentucky Blue Grass blades that will never return again.

This is especially common in areas where there are harsh winters or on Kentucky Blue Grass that has decreased sunlight exposure time due to surrounding trees growing taller throughout the years.

What Type of Grass Performs Best In Winter?

Grass is not winter-proof. Heat, cold, snow, and ice are all winter weather conditions that winter grass has to endure. Even the best winter grass needs some help getting through winter. The type of winter grass you have can make a difference in winter survival.

Kentucky bluegrass is great for winter survival. However, it does not do very well with multiple winters in a row. If you live somewhere where it snows on average about 100 days per year or more, maybe this isn’t the best choice of winter turfgrass for your region.

It also doesn’t stand up well to traffic, so if you have lots of winter visitors it might be best to pick a winter grass that is more resilient.

  • Most winter grasses are fine fescues, bentgrasses, or bluegrass that have been winterized.
  • The winter grass that performs best is Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue, or Bentgrass.
  • Perennial Rye is winter grass that needs less winterizing to perform well in winter conditions.

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Fescue & Bentgrass are winter grasses that can stand up to cold conditions for several years in a row. They do best in colder climates, but both will survive winter heat as well.

If you have high levels of humidity or have problems with fungi or insects during the summer, these winter grasses would not be suitable choices for your region. Perennial rye is winter grass that doesn’t need as much winterizing; however, it needs more sun than other winter grass types and doesn’t work well with regions where there are high humidity levels.

Some winter grass types will perform better than others in winter weather conditions, but winter grass can still have winter problems. Even the best winter grass needs some winter care to survive winter weather.

In Conclusion

Snow is typically not life-threatening to your Kentucky Blue Grass. However, it can cause several problems if not removed in time or before the snow has stayed on top for too long. Removing snow from your lawn will keep it healthy and avoid any permanent damage that extended periods of snow cover may cause.

Snow mold is also another problem that plagues Kentucky Blue Grass during colder weather but should clear up with warmer temperatures or no precipitation over a few days.

Snow may look beautiful when covering your lawn, but make sure you check for signs of dormancy on leaves and roots caused by the lack of sunlight penetration before becomes too late to reverse its effects on winter grass.

If you are not sure which winter grass to choose, there’s no need to worry; winter grasses all do best when watered frequently and lightly throughout winter.

Written By

Hi there! My name is Matt and I write for American Lawns. I've been a home owner for over 15 years. I've also had the pleasure of working with some experts in lawn care and outdoor living. I enjoy writing about everything related to your lawn, pests and types of grass. In my spare time, I'm either spending time with my family, doing a DIY project or learning a new skill.

American Lawns is a website created to share helpful information about caring for your lawn. From equipment to lawn health, we want to provide you with simple and straightforward answers that make taking care of your yard easy.


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