During winter, we crisscross over our grass, either while walking to our house or while trying to build a snow fort. All that wear and tear, combined with a lot of moisture, can quickly lead to mud. Here’s how you can prevent your lawn from turning into a mud puddle.
How to prevent walked-on grass from turning to mud in winter: Those that have grass that is continuously walked on should regularly aerate it to prevent it from becoming too compact. You can also add a layer of wood chips or pine flakes to crate a spongier layer that will absorb extra water. Finally, try to level out your grass so there isn’t a hollow area as water will naturally make its way there and create a giant mud puddle.
What causes walked-on grass to turn to mud during winter?
During winter there is a lot of precipitation. A deluge of water or a snowstorm that quickly starts to melt means too much moisture for your soil to absorb.
If the grass is in perfect condition, this water will slowly start to drain. However, if the grass is continually walked on, all that soil underneath will become too compacted. If there isn’t enough air in the soil, the water has nowhere to go, leading to puddles of water that turn into mud.
Ways to prevent grass from turning to mud in winter
Use wood chips
Wood chips, also known as bark mulch, are small pieces of wood that can be found at any home improvement or gardening store. You can find wood chips made from different types of wood and of different colors.
To use them on your lawn, it’s better to use smaller wood chips as they will disintegrate more easily and become part of your lawn’s nutrients come spring. You may even be able to find wood chips for free from a local wood-chipping company.
Wood chips are great for preventing your grass from turning to mud as they will absorb extra water. Then, when the weather starts to dry out, they will release that water into your grass, making for a healthier lawn.
Use pine flakes
Different than pine needles, which can actually suppress the growth of your grass, pine flakes are also known as wood shavings. Think of the material you would use for a hamster cage.
Pine flakes are very thin so they won’t leave giant chunks of wood on your lawn once spring comes. They are also lightweight and easy to spread around your grass.
You can find pine flakes online or you can go to a pet store to find packages of them. Similar to wood chips, pine flakes will absorb extra water and create a thicker base so water doesn’t pool on top of your grass.
Aerating the soil
If you have naturally compacted soil or you have children that regularly run around your grass, the area can become too dense. Then, when there is an abundance of rain or snow, the moisture is not able to filter through the soil, leaving behind large puddles on the surface.
Aerating the soil is common in early spring but you can help prevent muddy grass by aerating in the fall. This way, the soil will have better drainage through winter.
If you know that pooling water is a common problem each winter, be sure to stick to a regular aeration schedule. Not only will this help your lawn in the winter, but it will strengthen the roots of your grass and prevent soil erosion.
It’s important to know what your soil is made of. Grass can cover your dirt but what’s underneath will determine how healthy the area is and what problems you may encounter.
If you have a lot of clay in your soil, you can try to offset this with sand. Adding a thin layer of sand in the fall will result in better drainage and will prevent the accumulation of mud.
As water flows through the sandy layer, it will naturally become part of your grass, so you don’t have to worry about having a gritty lawn come spring.
Level your lawn
When thinking about how muddy your grass gets in the winter, is there one particular area that always has the most damage? Water will naturally move downwards and if you have an area in your grass that has a slight dip, this is where water will pool.
If you can, a level that area of your lawn. Add more topsoil and then overseed the area to ensure the grass still grows thickly.
The more level your grass is, the more even the water will drain. This will prevent patches of mud.
How to get rid of mud in winter
All these tips are great but what if it’s the middle of winter and you didn’t realize your lawn would be so muddy? Here are a few ways to deal with that mud so it doesn’t cause too much damage and mess.
Brush the mud
Help your lawn out by moving any standing water around so it can drain quickly. Take a broom or brush and gently move the water around, brushing it off to the side.
This is a delicate step as you don’t want to mistakenly rake any remaining grass away. Use the flat side of a metal rake to avoid ripping any grass.
Any time there is mud on your grass, avoid walking on it. Not only does walking through mud create a giant mess, but it can hurt your already weakened grass.
Let the area have a chance to drain the water. The more you walk in the area, the more compact the soil will become, which will further prevent drainage.
Grass that is walked on becomes very compact and can result in water not being able to drain through the soil. Make sure your grass is level and aerated regularly. You can also add an absorbing layer such as pine flakes and wood chips to your grass.