If your area experienced a harsh winter, your lawn might have taken a beating. But worry not, as not all is lost. There are steps you can take to return it to its summer glory. Keep on reading for some tips on recovering your lawn after these long winter months.
To allow your lawn to properly recover, you should start by cleaning up all the debris that winter storms scattered around your yard. Gather all the leaves, branches, and anything else you encounter. Not removing dead leaves from the ground can lead to fungal disease as they retain excess moisture. Moreover, this also creates an environment that suits various insects and pests that can damage the lawn. Once you remove these bigger items, rake the lawn to get rid of dead grass as well. You should also keep an eye out for snow mould and make sure the affected patches of grass have enough time to dry out. Finally, if you use deicing salt during winter, bear in mind that it can also damage your lawn. Apply granular or pelletized gypsum in a thin layer to replace the salt with sulphur and calcium, water the lawn thoroughly, and consider using sand instead of salt.
Besides getting rid of dead organic matter and debris, you should also dethatch your lawn. There is an organic layer – thatch – between the grass and the soil composed of grass stems, stolons, and rhizomes that have not yet decomposed. You need to remove it in order to allow new grass to grow. To do this, you simply need to push the rake a bit deeper through the grass than you usually would when raking so that it reaches the thatch layer.
While traffic is usually the main cause of compacted soil, snow can have the same effect. If the soil is compacted, the roots have a hard time getting the air, water, and nutrients that they need, and the growth of the grass is affected. So, you will need to take out plugs of soils and loosen it a bit. Aerating will require some tools and seeing as how you will only be doing this once or twice a year, you can consider renting the equipment or borrowing it from neighbours. You might be tempted to use aerator shoes but the truth is that they do more harm than good as they don’t remove soil but compact it further.
In order to reach its full potential, your lawn needs to be properly fertilized. You should do some research when it comes to the type of fertilizer that is best for the grass you have in your yard. What is more, you can even perform a soil test to see which fertilizer is recommended and what nutrients the soil might be lacking. If your lawn is in bad shape, quick-release fertilizer can green it up in a couple of days. Just don’t apply too much as that can kill the grass. On the other hand, you can also apply a slow-release fertilizer that will keep the grass-fed over time as it slowly dissolves.
Watering is also essential as fertilizers need moisture to work. Even if the spring in your area is rainy, you still need to provide your lawn with regular watering. Having quality reeling hoses installed around the property should help you cover every single part of the lawn and ensure it is getting enough water. It’s best to do this early in the morning, preferably before 10 am as that will give it plenty of time to dry. Avoid watering in the evening and at night as various diseases can develop if the grass stays wet overnight.
Don’t be surprised if you encounter some bare spots after winter. However, it is vital that you care for them as soon as possible. It’s best to apply new seeds to these problematic spots after you’ve aerated the lawn. Make sure they are watered daily for about 5 to 6 weeks until the new grass has grown.
There is also a chance that the grass grew a little bit over the winter. If that is the case, you need to refrain from cutting it too short and allow it to ease into the spring. If you cut it too short, you will expose the root system which will put a lot of pressure on the grass. Do a light mow, just to take the tips off the blades. That should be enough to slowly get your lawn back to its former glory.
Just as the grass will start growing back in the spring, so will the weeds. You need to start fighting them on time to allow your lawn to flourish. Pull them as soon as you see them and consider using organic weed killers to prevent them from growing in the first place.
There are a few steps to breathing new life back into your lawn but it is not too much trouble, as you can see.
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