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Avoid Driving on Frozen Lawn

This morning we visited the Nonantum Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine, for a long-planned family outing. Santa and Mrs. Claus were there to greet all the children and the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet beckoned the rest of us.

The place was so crowded that all the paved parking spots were taken. As we arrived, many patrons began to pick spots on the lawn. Like lemmings, the rest of us did too.

I suspect I was the only one who cringed.

When I give my public lawn care talks, I always tell people to treat soil as if it’s alive, and to treat the soil with the respect you would any other living thing. Parking heavy objects on the soil is definitely NOT respectful. The resulting compaction will make it that much more difficult for the organisms in the soil to eat, drink and breathe, therefore making it that much more difficult for your soil to grow healthy grass next season. Soil compaction is the leading cause of lawn weeds.

If you don’t really care about the appearance of your lawn, then park anywhere you like. This is not life-or-death stuff, and your lawn will generally recover. If you are shooting for that mostly perfect lawn, though, it’s important to think about things like winter compaction, where the snow gets plowed, or where the salt from the road sand might land.

The parking issue is especially important at this time of year when the top layer of soil probably isn’t fully frozen in the northern regions of the country. When the ground is fully frozen to a depth of six inches or so, the damage from car tires is quite minimal. When it’s barely frozen, though, the tires sink in — potentially leaving tell-tale rutted trails that you have to live with all next spring and summer.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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