Winter Weather and Lawn Care

Winter Weather and Lawn Care

Probably one of the biggest questions for homeowners is whether they should stop caring for their lawns at all during the winter and leave them alone or if there are things they need to do during the winter to keep the lawn healthy.

Regardless of where you live, your lawn isn't dead during the winter. This is true even in the south, where the lawns turn brown during the winter. Those lawns aren't dead-they're dormant. That means they are still susceptible to outside conditions.

Hot, Dry Winters

Some areas have experienced higher than normal temperatures this year. That, in combination with lingering drought, can stress lawn grasses. If you're experiencing temperatures that are between 10-25 degrees higher than normal for this time of year, for more than a week at a time, water the lawn once a week. If your irrigation system has been put to bed, but you're having prolonged high temperatures, it is worth getting out the hose and moveable sprinkler to keep the lawn in good shape.

Icy Conditions

Snow serves to protect the plants and the grass, but ice is a different story. Avoid walking on your lawn after an ice storm, as you can break the grass blades and damage them. Staying off your lawn will also keep you away from the rest of your plants after an ice storm. It can be tempting to try to knock the ice off of plants after a storm, but this can damage the plants. Leave them alone!

Overseeded Lawns

By this time of the winter, overseeded lawns are starting to get leggy. If you've overseeded, start mowing. Mow high-three inches is a good setting. You probably won't have to mow as often as you would during the summer. Keeping overseeded lawns mowed will keep the grass from falling over and trapping moisture between the flopped over grass blades and the soil, which can result in fungal and bacterial growth.

Sudden Cold Weather

The biggest "rude awakening" for many homeowners is when they forget to turn off their automatic sprinkler systems and a freeze or frost happens. All of a sudden, you've created your own icy winter wonderland, complete with slippery sidewalks. If a sudden freeze is in the forecast, not only should you bring in your tender plants, but you should also turn off your lawn sprinkler system.

For the most part, winter provides a respite from constant lawn care, but it is important to stay on top of changing conditions to ensure that your lawn emerges in the spring healthy and ready to grow.

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