Winter Lawn Care Means Better Spring Grass
All spring and summer you worked to get your lawn looking its best. And with just a little winter care your lawn will come back green and lush next spring.
Happily, even here in Greeley, CO the list of winter lawn care and maintenance chores is short.
Warm Season Grasses
In cold regions like ours lawns with warm-season grasses endure freezes throughout the winter, You’ll notice that turf goes dormant, turning a dull tan color. These lawns need only simple winter lawn care.
You might decide to overseed with perennial or annual ryegrass to keep their lawn green all winter long. And if you do, make sure you do it as a sort of end-of-fall lawn care task – before the first frost.
On the other hand, if you let the turf brown during the winter, you can easily spot any cool-season weeds that have rooted in your lawn. If only a few broad-leaf weeds ar showing, spot-treat them with an herbicide that kills weeds but not grass.
Have too many weeds for spot treatment? Start removing them by mowing your lawn whenever possible during the early winter months, keeping the grass at the recommended height. This may seem like a lot of unneeded work, but most common winter weeds can’t survive repeated mowing and will die.
Finally, mark your calendar to apply a pre-emergent herbicide early in the following fall. This should eliminate most winter weeds before they start getting a foothold.
Cool Season Grasses
Winter lawn care for cool-season grasses is simple. Some winters can be harsher than others. Word of advice here: when there are hard freezes and snow cover, stay off the frozen lawn. Frozen turfgrass can be crushed and killed with repeated walking, and that means barren spots in the spring.
Turfgrass can also become a victim to fall’s leaf cover if it remains throughout the winter. Wet leaves can create snow mold, which damages the lawn. Be sure to clear the lawn entirely before the first snow. If you wait and rake after a snow thaw, be careful not to pull the grass up from the moist soil.
Snow Cover Brings Voles
Another problem in our area is voles (often called field mice or meadow mice). These small, moisture-loving rodents show up in both suburban and rural yards. Hidden well under the snow pack and safe from most predators, voles will tunnels under the snow and into the ground below, to feast on grassroots. A vole mother can give birth to nearly a hundred babies in the winter.
But if you remove the snowpack, the voles must stay above ground to be picked off by hungry predators, or find another yard to inhabit.
You’ll need to rake the tunnels, fill with soil and tamp lightly, then add grass seed. (If your lawn is healthy, you may be able to omit the seed and let the lawn to repair itself.)