Revive your lawn after a hard winter.


For many parts of the country, the winter was bitterly cold with several feet fallen snow. While the temperatures are slowly creeping up and Jack Frost has finally decided to leave, your lawn is soon going to be a flooded mess of mud and massive puddles.

What do you expect? The ground is frozen with about 2 feet of snow piled on top of it. It’s going to take time for the ground to unfreeze and for all that snow to melt. Your once perfect lawn is going to need some serious tender loving care if it’s going to survive one of the worst winters on the books.

Be Patient

Your lawn looks like Lake Michigan, and you’re pretty sure you saw fish swimming on it. It’s frustrating to have to sit back and only look at your lawn while the temperatures slowly head into the 60’s and 70’s. You want to start the rescue, but you’ll probably have to wait a few weeks. You can’t just start working once the puddles disappear, the lawn has to actually dry out. The ground is going to be moist and soggy and walking on it is just going to make things worse. The grass may grow in places, but hold back on cutting until it’s had a chance to fully dry out.


Clear, Test and Fertilize

Begin with a general cleanup of the lawn. Sediment, branches and other debris easily collects through the winter months and litters your lawn. Once the debris is clear, it’s time to check the pH and nutrient levels. Melting snow can wash away nutrients and change your pH levels. If the levels are off, then adjust them quickly with fertilizer.

Air It Out

All that snow weighed heavy on the ground and can compact the soil. It’s hard for the grass roots to get air if everything is compacted. Also, through the months the snow accumulates dirt and other sediment that can cover the grass, keeping it from growing. It’s a new season and you need to air everything out. Use an aerator to let air into the roots. The sediment will be spotty, so use a rake to spread it evenly throughout the lawn.

Reseed Where Needed

If despite all your care there are still spots where grass just refuses to grow, then you’re going to need to reseed. It’s not going to be easy. The birds will be coming back and are going to be hungry. Your grass seed is like a smorgasbord to them. You might want to go with sod if the areas are large enough. It’s important that you wait to reseed until not only the top of the ground has thawed, but also the first several inches below the ground as well.

Exploiters of a Bad Winter

An especially cold or heavy winter like the one we just had has its own set of pitfalls. Grass is hearty, but even it can’t always cope with the extreme low temperatures we experienced this year. Do you know what can? Weeds. Watch out for weeds sprouting up in areas where the grass is thin or rebuilding. Be prepared to dig up the roots or use a strong weed killer.

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Bill Nicholls

Bill Nicholls

CENTURY 21 Westman Realty Ltd.
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