Winterizing Your Lawn: Tips to Protect Your Yard This Winter

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Winter Lawn Care

on January 20, 2017 by TruGreen

As fall turned to winter, you may have started to notice some changes in your lawn. If it looks dead, and you’ve done everything right, chances are it’s just dormant. Changes will occur again in the spring; it’s the cycle of your lawn, and we’re here to give you the lowdown on what to expect as well as tips to help protect your lawn through the changing seasons. 

What is lawn dormancy?

Dormancy is the state of reduced metabolic activity adopted by many organisms under conditions of environmental stress or when such stressful conditions are likely to appear. Lawn owners may see their lawn enter a dormancy due to cold conditions in the winter and droughts in the summer. 

But worry not. For many plants and animals, dormancy has become an essential part of the life cycle, allowing an organism to pass through critical environmental stages in its life cycle with a minimal impact on the organism itself. While it’s natural for the lawn to enter a dormancy period, there are steps you can take to help prepare it for the next stage. 

How to winterize lawn and trees

Between the ice, snow, wind, and freezing temperatures, your lawn and garden are presented with many challenges over the winter months. But it’s nothing that a little preparation and know-how can’t overcome. Some of the tools and technology used to combat these wintry conditions can actually harm your lawn, too, if precaution isn’t taken. 

Give one last fertilization boost

Think that late fall fertilization is pointless? While the growing season may be over, turfgrasses require large amounts of reserves before they go dormant. A late fall fertilization application from TruGreen can help reduce winter injury and diseases, and prepare the grass for its next growing season in spring. Whether you have a warm-season or cool-season grass, lawns that had adequate fall fertilization applications tend to green-up earlier in the spring than those that didn’t. 

Prepare for freezing temperatures 

Your favorite plants, shrubs, and trees can be damaged or even killed if extremely low temperatures persist for an extended period. Maintaining a two- to four-inch layer of mulch can help protect against cold damage and allow for new growth once warmer spring temperatures move in. 

When temperatures plunge and are followed quickly by a mild spell, tree stems and trunks can crack. To prevent cracking or splitting, wrap your trees with a light-colored bark wrap prior to winter.

Avoid desiccation damage

When plants cannot replace moisture that is lost from leaves, desiccation occurs. This can be caused when the root zone of the plant is left uncovered with little or no snow cover and no mulch protection. If you have prepped the trees, shrubs, and plants with two to four inches of mulch, make sure to water the plants during periods of winter thaw, apply an anti-desiccation film, and provide wind breaks.

Mechanical damage

When the winter storms bring moderate to heavy snowfall, it can make it difficult for snowplow drivers and snow blower users to see the boundaries of paved surfaces. To help prevent this damage, place brightly colored boundary markers along the edges of your paved areas. Be mindful to not use heavy metal, fence posts or other large objects to avoid creating a hazard for the snowplow operators. 

Chemical damage

Some ice-melting agents contain types of salt that can cause damage to plant tissues and roots. To avoid damage from ice melting agents:

  • Use the least damaging agents near your lawn and landscape.
  • Use agents in advised amounts.
  • Avoid piling snow and slush filled with the melting agents along the edges of your lawn and garden.

TruGreen’s ice melt product is safer on vegetation and concrete, compared to rock salt. Plus, it’s the fastest de-icer available!

Winter to spring transition

The temperatures aren’t the only thing increasing this spring: your lawn care responsibilities go up as the season changes. Below are some things to watch out for and keep in mind during the transition. 

Watch for snow mold: Extended periods of snow cover can create the perfect conditions for snow mold to develop and spread. The damage can be most severe in areas where snow had been piled or accumulated due to drift. 

Get raking: Believe it or not, as soon as the snow starts melting, you should start raking. Roughing up the matted grass with a rake will improve air circulation and stimulate new grass growth. 

Lower mower on first run: Once it’s time to break out the mower, lower the blades for a closer cut that first run. This can help to improve air circulation and stimulate new grass growth.

To learn more about how TruGreen can help prepare your lawn for the upcoming season, give us a call at 866.688.6722 or visit our services page.  

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