Serving Southwestern Pennsylvania Since 1981

How Western PA Climate Affects Your Lawn

The Western Pennsylvania climate can make caring for your lawn a difficult task. Pittsburgh has hot, humid summers, which are followed by rainy autumn weather and snowy, bitterly cold winters. To better care for your lawn in these conditions, it is essential to understand how these conditions affect your lawn and how you can prepare it to face the harsh conditions of Western PA year-round.

Lawn Issues Caused by Harsh Pittsburgh Winters

Winters in Pittsburgh can place a lot of stress on your lawn, causing damage from the cold and the snow. To prevent these issues, you will need to prepare your lawn for the winter.

The most common lawn issues caused by the Western PA winter include:

Ice Damage

When temperatures reach freezing, and the snow begins to fall in Pittsburgh, ice and snow can freeze your grass. This will make your grass brittle, weak, and more susceptible to damage from foot or vehicle traffic. Come springtime, you will have to repair your turf.

To keep people and vehicles off of your lawn in the winter, be sure to keep your sidewalks and driveway free of ice and snow. It is also important to avoid parking your vehicles on your lawn during the wintertime to prevent killing the grass and creating space for weeds to grow.

Salt Damage

The freezing temperatures in Pittsburgh during the winter can result in slippery driveways and sidewalks. Many people will use salt or ice melt in these areas to make them safer for use. While these products make your sidewalks and driveway safer, it can also lead to damage on your lawn. After the warmer spring temperatures melt the snow away, you may see severe to the grass along your driveway and sidewalks. This damage occurs because the ice melt or salt dries out the grass roots of your lawn, which causes the grass to die.

Since ice melt and salt are a necessity for many in the winter, you can cover the edges of your lawn where the salt damage is most common. You can use landscape fabric to help keep the salt from reaching your grass. You can also reduce the amount of salt you use or use alternative materials such as sand to provide traction on snowy or icy conditions.

Snow Mold

Snow mold is a fungal disease that grows on your lawn under the snow. This fungus is more common in areas where the snow covers last for the majority of the winter season. The most common types of snow mold in Western PA are the gray and pink snow mold.

Gray Snow Mold. This type of snow mold kills the blades of grass and is more common when there is snowfall prior to the ground freezing. This snow mold will appear with sclerotia, which are pinhead-sized, light to dark brown structures on the crowns, and leaves of the grass.

Pink Snow Mold. This type of snow mold kills the crowns or roots of your grass and will appear in bleached out, dead patches of grass that have a pinkish hue.

To prevent snow mold, it is important to mow your lawn prior to the winter season. When you make the last cut of the mowing season, be sure to cut your lawn shorter than you normally would, down to roughly 1 to 2 inches. By cutting your lawn shorter, you can prevent the grass from becoming matted down under the snow. You should also avoid piling snow onto your lawn when shoveling your sidewalks and driveway.

How You Can Protect Your Lawn Against the Western Pennsylvania Climate

Preparing your lawn for Western PA winters can be tricky. Below are a few tips for you to follow to make the process easier:

Feed Your Lawn 

In Western Pennsylvania, the late fall or early winter is the best time to fertilize cool-season grasses such as

In Pennsylvania, the late fall or early winter is a great time to fertilize cool-season grasses such as Tall Fescue or Kentucky Bluegrass. Winterizer is a type of late fall fertilizer that will provide your lawn with the nitrogen and other nutrients it needs to thrive.

By feeding your lawn in the early winter, your lawn will have the nutrients it needs for root growth and development and will become more resistant to against early spring lawn disease. Winterizer will also make your lawn stronger to help it handle the stress of the winter season, while also providing your lawn with a food source that will help your lawn reemerge green and lush come springtime.

Proper Watering

While you don’t have to water your lawn as much in November as you did in the early fall months, it is still crucial to make sure your lawn is watered enough before the ground freezes. Soil that is moist will stay warmer than dry soil when freezing temperatures hit. This helps to insulate the grass roots and help prevent them from freezing. Take care not to overwater your lawn because your lawn will not absorb the water as quickly as it did during the growing season.

At Superior Lawn Care, we understand that the Western PA climate is not always easy on your lawn. With our full range of expert lawn care services, we can help you prepare your lawn and landscape for winter. Come springtime, we can also help you reverse any damage caused by the winter season.

Contact us today to learn more about we can help you protect and prepare your lawn this winter season. We proudly serve southwestern PA, including Belle Vernon, Upper St. Clair, Uniontown, Greensburg, New Stanton, Wexford, Indiana, and throughout the Pittsburgh area.