When winter rolls around, many lawn owners hang up their mowing gear and get ready to settle in for a long winter’s nap. Did you know your lawn is ready to settle in for that nap too? It’s true, but there are a few things you can do to make sure your lawn makes a full green return come spring.
What is Lawn Dormancy?
Dormancy is the state that lawns enter when they are under environmental stress. Much like other organisms, your lawn enters this state to protect itself from the harsh conditions of winter. Dormancy can also occur in the summer during times of drought. While it’s natural for the lawn to enter a winter dormancy period, there are important steps you can take to help prepare your lawn for the spring.
Winterizing your Lawn
Between the ice, snow, wind, and freezing temperatures, your lawn and plants are presented with many challenges over the winter months, but it’s nothing that a little preparation and know-how can’t overcome. Taking extra precaution when preparing your lawn for winter is essential.
- Ensure your lawn has enough nutrients to store before the ground gets too cold. The last fertilization of the season is one of the most important treatments to help prepare your lawn for winter and jump start your lawn in the spring.
- To help prevent damage from snow plows or snow blowers, place brightly colored boundary markers along the edges of your paved areas. Be mindful not to use any heavy metal, fence posts or other large objects to avoid creating a hazard for the snowplow operators.
- Don’t forget about the weeds. Fall is a great time to control weeds so you have fewer in the spring and fewer weeds competing with the grass.
- The last mow of the year should cut the lawn a little shorter than during the growing season. You can do this by lowering your mower deck by one notch. This will help reduce snow mold in late winter and speed spring green up.
Keeping An Eye Out for Damage
While preventing any damage during winter is important, you will also want to keep an eye out for any unexpected damage to your lawn. The most common to occur during winter months is desiccation, also called winterkill. This often occurs when turf is unprotected by snow cover and subject to drying cold winds. Under these conditions, the exposed turf can lose significant moisture in crown tissues.
To prevent desiccation, continue to water lawns into the fall if it hasn’t rained at least once a week. You don’t want your lawn to go into winter in a drought stressed condition. A good rule of thumb is to water your lawn when it is still above 40 degrees with no rain in the forecast.
While there is a lot to keep up with when maintaining your lawn in the winter, not all damage occurs from ice. Keep an eye out for winter pests like The Winter Grain Mite. The activity and damage caused by this mite are restricted to the winter months, meaning Winter Grain Mite damage is often mistaken for snow mold or winterkill. You may want to look into something like Perimeter Pest Control to rule out these nasty pests during the winter season.
Transitioning from Winter to Spring
The temperatures aren’t the only thing increasing this spring: your lawn care responsibilities go up as the season changes. Below are some additional practices to implement 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 has 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.
How Can TruGreen Help?
TruGreen’s professionals have developed a tailored approach that maximizes program effectiveness and reduces potential issues that can arise during and after the winter months. To ensure your lawn and landscape leave the winter months behind and emerge strong into spring, our application will focus on root strength to ensure resilience.
To learn more about how TruGreen can give your lawn a kickstart for the upcoming season, call 866.688.6722.