Moles can cause significant damage to lawns. ATTRIBUTION: Flickr – Matt Salas

Winter conditions can cause significant damage to trees, shrubs, plants, and lawns. As spring approaches, it’s vitally important to thoroughly check the condition of your yard so that you can appropriately address any issues before they escalate. Here’s a look at some of the most common warning signs that could indicate a problem in your yard or garden areas.

1. Hazardous Trees

Trees can suffer serious damage due to snow, ice, high winds, and other unfavorable winter conditions. Leaning trunks, exposed root systems, and hanging branches can all be major safety concerns that should be dealt with promptly. Also note trunks that have split down the center, as these injured trees usually require removal by professionals.

2. Ice Damage on Lawns

Turf is amazingly resilient, but long-term exposure to snow and ice can occasionally cause irreversible damage. As the elements freeze and thaw throughout the winter, the soil and grass become waterlogged, causing leaf tissue cells to rupture when the ice refreezes. When bare spots develop, the areas must be planted with grass seed come spring.

3. Moles and Other Creatures

As the ground thaws in spring, you may notice an increase in the amount of intruders in your yard. Moles, voles, and other burrowing varmints can cause damage to the landscape as they form tunnels and runways in the soil. While moles are solely insectivores, voles are plant-eaters that feed on grass, seeds, bulbs, and perennial roots.

4. Spring Lawn Diseases

Lawn problems can develop at the start of spring as the temperature rises and snow and ice melt. Leaf spot is a common disease that occurs during moist spring weather, causing purple spots to appear on grass blades. Spring dead spot, red thread, and pink patch are also damaging lawn diseases. Most of these lawn diseases can be treated with fungicides.

5. Lawn Discoloration

Discoloration is a common occurrence on turf in the springtime. One of the biggest culprits of lawn discoloration is lawn rust, an orange or reddish powdery fungus that can cause a decline and thinning of the grass. Infrequent deep watering sessions, coupled with fertilization, can help most rust-riddled lawns recover.

6. Grass Heat Stress

Heat stress can occasionally develop in the spring in warmer climates, causing an array of problems like insect infestation, disease, and an increase in weeds. The most common warning signs of grass heat stress include dryness in bed edges and gaps in the soil. To help improve the health of your lawn, it’s important to water the grass heavily for several days, preferably early in the morning.

7. Insect Damage

While small in size, insects can cause significant damage to trees, shrubs, plants, and lawns. Grubs are especially ruthless, causing areas of brown turf that detach from the soil with ease. If your lawn has been damaged by grubs, it’s best to quickly replace any divots and water the area frequently to encourage the grass to re-root. If this solution fails, your lawn may need to be reseeded.