Tips to Revive Your Plants and Grass From Winter
If you want a vibrant lawn to view from your patio or walkway this summer, you need to start taking care of your lawn in spring. Winter can be very hard on lawns. Ice and snow can injure or even kill the turf roots. The cold temperatures and packing of snow and ice can compress the soil and result in less than healthy lawns. You may need to revive soil, plants and grass — as well as ensure that the lawn stays healthy through the spring and summer. Here’s how.
Clean the Lawn
At the end of winter, lawns can have debris of various sorts on them. It can be leaves that escaped the rake, weeds, nests of small animals, tree branches that dropped due to heavy snow or ice, gravel and asphalt — you name it. You’d be surprised by how many things you’ll find on your lawn if you walk through it carefully. Lawns deserve a spring cleaning just like other parts of your house and yard!
Assess the Turf
If you’ve had a very hard winter, your turf may be dead in spots. It will be easy to find out because the grass will be brown or matted — and likely both. If your turf is dead, you’ll need to pull it up and throw it away.
Aerate the Ground
Winter can pack the ground very hard. This is especially true if you have soil that is largely made up of clay in its composition. But hard-packed ground can happen with any type of soil. Packed ground can’t support flourishing plant life because it doesn’t have enough air.
The solution is to aerate the ground. You should aerate as soon as the ground is no longer frozen. One simple method is to simply poke holes in the ground at intervals. You can also rent or purchase a plug aerator. These tend to be very popular in early spring, so get your rental or purchase order in early.
Think About Whether You Need to Reseed or Resod
Once spring comes and snow and ice melt, you can look closely at your lawn. Examine the health, the roots and the soil. If your lawn is brown or bare in patches, you need to reseed or resod.
Reseeding, as the term implies, means that you will be putting new grass seed into your lawn. This is the recommended course if the soil itself is healthy and capable of supporting new growth. But if the soil itself is exhausted, hard-packed or full of insects, you may be better off resodding. Resodding means you are adding new sod to your yard. Resodding is more expensive than reseeding.
Add Topsoil If Necessary
If you have packed clay soil or soil that is inhospitable to plant life for any reason, you can add topsoil to your yard. Healthy lawns need about six inches of topsoil to flourish. A local nursery or university’s home extension will be able to tell you the composition of your soil and whether it is hospitable to native plant life.
Fertilize the Lawn
Whether you’ve reseeded or decided a refurbished lawn will grow fine as soon as it’s cleaned and aerated, it will need to be fertilized. Compost is a great, natural way to fertilize and it will also protect your lawn from the cold. Compost can be clipped grass from last year, leaves, kitchen scraps, pine or fir needles and finely torn newspaper. You can also buy commercially-prepared compost.
Limit Traffic on the Lawn
Kids, dogs, and other pets love to play on the lawn. A recovering lawn, though, needs some TLC — and that’s not likely to happen if kids and dogs are happily tromping through your yard. This is especially true if you’ve reseeded or resodded bare patches. New seedlings need to remain undisturbed.
The best thing to do is limit traffic on the lawn to reduce worn-down areas. Tells your kids and your pets where they can play and where they can’t.
Water the Lawn
While fertilizer provides essential nutrients, so does water. Don’t forget to water your lawn adequately. The best times to water are early morning or evening when the water won’t get burned off by the spring sun.
If your area is suffering from drought or water shortages, it might be a good time to rethink the type of grass you use on the lawn. Some species native to your area may be adequately watered with rainfall, which can save water consumption. Your local nursery is a good source of advice.
Mow the Lawn
Be sure to mow your lawn regularly. Blades of grass after mowing should be approximately three inches long. Be careful not to trim them closer than that, as soil can be damaged by sun or wind if it isn’t protected by the grass.
A nice green lawn in the summer is a great thing to look at or walk through. But green lawns need to be planned for in the spring. These nine steps will help you have a lawn to be proud of.