|
|
The Suburbanite
  • Green Space: Don’t just sit there, fight those coming snow drifts

  • I know, there’s always something. That’s why we endure Saturdays. The leaves are gone. The rakes are stored. The leaf bags are no longer eating into the food budget. Only thing left is to be a couch potato.

    • email print
  • I know, there’s always something. That’s why we endure Saturdays. The leaves are gone. The rakes are stored. The leaf bags are no longer eating into the food budget. Only thing left is to be a couch potato.
    Fat chance. The two most important lawn mowings are the first and the last. The last is the final official lawn chore of fall. It’s important. You don’t want to head into winter with long grass.
    Every spring, I get 911 emails from folks with large, ugly, gray masses of turf in their yards. It’s called snow scald. Snow under heavy drifts compacts long grass. The slow dripping of the melt fires up a gray fungus that does the deed.
    Short grass will not prevent snow scald, but it does limit it. Another trick my friends in Canada swear by is to shovel drifts. It looks crazy, you out there shoveling your yard. But if you have places that severely drift, it’s worth a try.
    Normal snow, unless it’s two feet or more, doesn’t cause the scald. It’s always the drifts.
    We had scalding in a heavy drifting area of our yard out back. I circled it with 12 bucks worth of chicken wire. That really cut back on the drifting. No scald come springtime.
    Scald does not spread in spring. It needs cold, dripping, heavy snow. It doesn’t make much sense to try to treat it with a fungicide as it already has done the damage.
    ABOUT THOSE DRIFTS
    My grandfather had a lot of rules, and one was never buy a house with a drive running north to south. That’s asking for serious snow drifts.
    Dumb me, I forgot about it and wound up with a drive that drifted even with three inches of snow. My garage faces west, and I’d have to fight my way out with a shovel. Then the drive narrows for the last 50 feet against the house, causing giant pile-ups. That first winter was misery.
    I visited a buddy in the Colorado Rockies and got a lesson in snow breaks. You cannot just wait for the plow up there. It’s everybody for themselves.
    My friend used a line of bushes and trees to hold back the onslaught. We witnessed an early June snow and immediately saw the benefit — zero drifting despite blizzard winds.
    So I attacked my problem.
    I planted fat fir trees to block the blows against the garage door. Then I planted redbuds and the all-time greatest snow fence, pampas grass, down the side.
    Voila. Almost no drifts.
    I like solutions that are a one-time job. My snow break has saved me many hours of hard labor in the worst of weather. There’s another plus. It provides privacy in the summer and keeps storm gusts from rearranging our patio. I’m told it saves us on furnace gas. Anything else? You bet. Less grass to mow. I rest my case.