See­ing green: How to help your lawn bounce back from win­ter

The Drumheller Mail - - AROUND TOWN -

Lawns are ex­posed to the el­e­ments through­out the year, and each sea­son brings its own unique set of chal­lenges. Sum­mer heat waves can make it hard for lawns to main­tain their lush green ap­peal, while the fall­ing leaves of au­tumn can threaten root sys­tems if not han­dled prop­erly. Win­ter frost and snow also can pose a threat to lawns, leav­ing home­own­ers with some work to do when spring ar­rives.

Spring is a sea­son of re­vival, and that spirit of re­ju­ve­na­tion ex­tends to lawns. When the last ves­tiges of win­ter be­gin to dis­ap­pear, home­own­ers can dust off their gar­den­ing gloves and start tak­ing steps to re­vi­tal­ize their lawns for the months ahead.

• Look for signs of dam­age. Win­ter can be hard on lawns, so it’s im­por­tant for home­own­ers to look for signs of dam­age be­fore they be­gin plan­ning any spring­time land­scap­ing projects. Salt dam­age can oc­cur in ar­eas that re­ceived heavy snow­fall over the win­ter. Many com­mu­ni­ties use rock salt to de­ice snow- and ice-cov­ered roads, and that rock salt is largely made up of sodium chlo­ride, which can draw mois­ture from grass and cause it to brown. Salt trucks used dur­ing win­ter storms of­ten spit salt out onto lawns, so don’t be sur­prised if you no­tice brown spots on your grass, es­pe­cially in those ar­eas clos­est to the road. Win­ter lawn dam­age may also be caused by voles, bur­row­ing mouse-like ro­dents that make paths be­neath the snow to hide from preda­tors and feed on grass blades and roots. Lawns with dis­tinctly mat­ted ar­eas may also have been dam­aged by snow mold that can weaken turf.

• Con­sult a pro­fes­sional land­scaper. Home­own­ers with con­sid­er­able ex­pe­ri­ence tend­ing to dam­aged lawns can no doubt iden­tify and ad­dress prob­lems on their own. That’s be­cause many prob­lems are a re­sult of the weather, which tends to be sim­i­lar and pro­duce sim­i­lar prob­lems from one year to the next. But in­ex­pe­ri­enced home­own­ers should con­sult pro­fes­sional land­scap­ers be­fore at­tempt­ing to ad­dress prob­lems on their own. Win­ter lawn dam­age may be caused by a va­ri­ety of fac­tors that can pro­duce sim­i­lar symp­toms, and pro­fes­sional land­scap­ers can iden­tify the cul­prits be­hind such dam­age and pro­vide the most ef­fec­tive so­lu­tions to re­store the lawn.

• Re­move de­bris. A light rak­ing can help re­move any de­bris that ac­cu­mu­lated over the win­ter. Such de­bris, which may in­clude fallen branches and fallen leaves left be­hind from the nal days of fall, can pre­vent lawns from get­ting the sun and wa­ter they need to thrive. Re­move this de­bris, but make sure the grass is not frozen when you do, as walk­ing on frozen grass can cause fur­ther dam­age.

• Let the grass grow. Mow­ing the lawn is a chore that’s re­served for spring, sum­mer and maybe early fall, but it’s im­por­tant that home­own­ers don’t jump the gun and mow too early af­ter win­ter. A pa­tient ap­proach al­lows the grass to reestab­lish it­self, so let it grow a lit­tle higher than you nor­mally would be­fore the rst cut. When the grass is roughly 4.5 inches high, you can cut it down to three inches and then main­tain your nor­mal mow­ing rou­tine through­out the rest of spring and sum­mer.

Re­vi­tal­iz­ing lawns in spring­time is a pri­or­ity for many home­own­ers, who should al­ways con­sult land­scap­ing pro­fes­sion­als if they feel un­cer­tain about ad­dress­ing any dam­age they dis­cover dur­ing their post-win­ter lawn in­spec­tions.

Win­ter weather, in­clud­ing snow, can dam­age lawns, leav­ing home­own­ers with some work to do when spring ar­rives.

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