Sad over Your Salt-Damaged Lawn? Make it Green Again

Once upon a time, there was a princess who had this spectacular lawn. She spent her leisure in her lawn; she was so much in love with it. She kissed the blooms, caressed the trees, sang with the birds and chirped with the bees. Her joy knew no bounds. She was the happiest princess ever. In the winters she played with the falling snow. Oh! The sound of her laughter brought smiles on the faces of all the villagers.

Then one day came an evil machine. It was called the plow truck. It ripped off all the snow from the roads and sanded the lawn. Lo and behold the evil machine took off chunks of salt and destroyed the lawn. Oh how the princess wailed and moaned over her dead friends.

Did you just look out at your salt-damaged lawn?

Bingo! You hit the right page. Few days back we were feeling the same, and decided to consult a few horticulture experts on proper lawn maintenance and protection against salt damage. Here is what they had to say.

DOUG ALBERT – Owner of Maine Turf Co. in Fryeburg and a teacher of turf grass management classes at Southern Maine Community College

Identify the root cause of the damage. Snowpack, salt or ice – and then look for non-chemical ways to correct this situation and prevent it in the future. If “snow compaction” is the problem the owner needs to find another spot to pile the snow when plowing or shoveling. For sidewalk salting related damage, the owner has to look for non-salt de-icing alternatives. Any low spots have to be leveled with dirt and sod. To fight general winter damage, it is best to dethatch or rake the lawn, leaving just about an inch of loose top soil. Add in starter fertilizer, along with some “organic amendments” – the sort of peat, compost or manure.

Raking has to be done immediately and watered right away.

LOIS BERG STACK – Professor of sustainable agriculture, University of Maine in Orono

Plants and trees in a lawn can incur serious damage from road salting. Stack advises owners to refrain from planting salt-sensitive trees. He disapproves the sort of red oak, horse chestnut or the Japanese tree Lilac. Instead, he suggests plantation of linden, red maple or Canada hemlock.

For shrubs he advises usage of boxwood and mock orange while he asks owners to refrain from planting Siberian peashrub, lilac and staghorn sumac.

Raised beds and protective fences can be additional measures of protection against such salting issues. Last but not the least, waterside plantings need to be thoroughly watered in spring to “flush” off salts from the top-level.

MATT & KRISTINA TENEYCK – Owners of the Constant Gardener and Links Lawn Care, a pair of garden and lawn-care businesses based in Hollis

TenEycks suggest taking in a specific area of plow damage in the lawn, grade it, seed it and fill it with loam. The rest of the lawn should be raked to rid of leaves and dead material, thus helping promote grass seed growth. To help your lawn recover for winter, start watering the lawn from spring itself. Once you have started growing grass on the damaged areas, TenEycks suggest it is important to resist the urge and cut the grass really short in order to make them look real neat. An ideal measure for grass on the lawn would be appropriate at 3 to 4 inches. It keeps the grass looking healthy.

Let’s make all the little angels around the world happy by gifting them fairytale lawns this season. Let’s spread lush greenery throughout the country and make the paradisiacal landscapes come real.