We spend so very little time in our yards during the winter, mostly because it’s frozen and covered in snow. Taking care of our lawns is probably the last thing on our minds during these cold months, right? But there is actually some winter lawn care advice you should consider to ensure your grass and yard will be healthy and lush once spring arrives.
Clean Up the Yard
If proper clean up isn’t done before the cold season, your lawn will struggle to thrive next year. You’ll be left with uneven grass, dead spots and maybe snow mold or vole trails. If you give your grass a little winter lawn care, you’ll be glad you did and your grass will thank you for it.
- Pick It Up – Some of you may look out onto your lawn as the first snow falls and see stray toys, outdoor furniture or a few logs and sticks and think that you’ll grab it in the spring. The extra pressure on your lawn can cause soil compaction and prevent the roots from staying healthy during the harsh winter. Leaving items out there while the snow piles on top suffocates your grass and can create dead, yellow spots. Never allow anyone to park a truck or a car on your lawn because even the smallest vehicle will leave impressions in the soil and kill off the grass that is underneath the tires.
- Rake It Up – Leaves that remain over grass through winter can harm the turf crowns. A layer of lawn debris can trap heat and moisture underneath the snow, causing a lawn disease called snow mold which creates minor lawn damage. Voles trails occur when small rodents leave tunnels under the snow-covered lawn debris and eat your plant roots. If you don’t get all the autumn leaves removed from the lawn before the first snow arrives, tackle that task if there’s a thaw at some point. Rake carefully, especially if soil is moist, because grass can pull up easily.
When Bad Weather Is On Its Way
Winters can often be unpredictable and may put your lawn through some extreme conditions during the course of the season. We do usually have some notice when bad weather is headed our direction so if you know a winter storm or deep freeze is approaching, be prepared for the following:
- Knock Down Snow – If we receive significant snow fall, many plants could be strained and damaged from excess accumulation of heavy snow on the branches. Carefully and gently, brush the snow in an upward direction off the limbs and boughs. If they become coated with ice, leave them alone. Trying to break off the ice could cause damage and it should normally melt at a rapid pace, even if the temperatures are below freezing.
- Limit Lawn Traffic – Grass is relatively resilient, but it will have a difficult time recovering if a path becomes worn across the lawn. This means it’s a good idea to keep people and vehicles off your lawn when there are hard freezes or snow cover. Keep your walkways clear of ice and snow or other debris so your family and guests won’t be tempted to cut across and trample the yard very often. Repeated walking or driving over frozen lawns can kill turfgrass crowns, which leads to spring bare spots.
- Treat Ice Wisely – Applying Ice Melt product to walkways and drives is an effective way to prevent slips and falls throughout the winter season but it can also cause adverse effects to your yard. Ice Melt damage occurs when continued splashing of chemicals onto turf or ornamental plantings increases the salt concentration to a toxic level that will result in weakened or dying plants. To prevent this damage from happening, use products with calcium chloride (not sodium chloride) because it is much less toxic to plants and just as effective. Also try sand or kitty litter which will help prevent slipping as well.