Winter Lawn Care Tips

Avoid foot traffic on a dormant lawn. Most lawns will survive dormancy as long as heavy foot traffic is avoided. If you have a dog or pet that does damage to the lawn in the winter make sure to have the lawn aerated in the spring to help the grass recover quicker.

Turf Care

Watering:

If there is not at least 2” of moisture per month you should water your lawn at least once per month when the temperatures are above 50F. This will help prevent spider mite damage, prevent winter desiccation as well as maintain a healthy root structure. We also recommend hand watering your trees once per month.

Mowing:

Mow your lawn a little shorter than normal on the final mow of the year. Each lawn may vary but a good height is 2.25-2.5 inches. It is beneficial to mulch a small amount of leaves into the soil as long as they are not accumulating on the lawn.

Aeration:

It is recommended to aerate your lawn if it is not dormant and your soil is soft enough to pull a 2-3.5 inch plug. This will allow nutrients and water to penetrate deep into the root zone and avoid soil compaction.

Check for spider mite damageRory uses a white piece of
paper to check for mite activity
on the south side of an
Austrian Pine.

Fertilization:

Do not skip winterization as this is the most important step in maintaining health over the winter months. We recommend using a slow release (water insoluble nitrogen) fertilizer. Avoid products that are fast release (water soluble nitrogen) like Scott’s. Our product Synergy and our organic fertilizer/winterizer are naturally slow release and will feed the lawn over the entire winter. Typically 70% of the fertilizer is used during the winter and 30% will be available in the spring for an earlier recovery.

Spider/Clover Mites:

Spider mites feed on the roots and tissue of grass especially in south facing slopes and on the south side of pine and spruce trees. The spider mites can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Mites have been very destructive the past few seasons because of the excessively warm and dry winters. Mites typically appear from November to March and should be treated if an outbreak occurs. If you have had recent damage caused by mites or are interested in doing a preventative treatment call us now and we will put you on a special contact list. We monitor the mite populations and when they appear we will contact you by phone to see if you desire a mite treatment.

Snow Mold:

Pink or gray snow mold can be an eyesore and only propagates in very wet and cold winters. The snow mold grows on the grass between the turf and the snow. When the snow melts the snow mold remains on the turf and can often be sticky or tacky. The snow mold does not attack the grass but it can block the sunlight from reaching the plant tissue. Therefore, the areas with snow mold often are very slow to green up and can often look unhealthy a few months after the snow mold is gone. We do not recommend treating for snow mold; however, if snow mold is a problem you should rake the area of the lawn that is infested with a garden rake. This will remove the infestation and allow air and sunlight to reach the turfgrass.

Spraying for spider mitesRory applies our special
insecticidal soap to a high risk
area for mite damage. Notice
the south facing slope and
the pine trees.

Tree Care

Tree Wrapping for Sun Scald Prevention:

Young trees and trees with direct southern exposure are susceptible to sun scald which causes the trees bark to crack or split. The sun warms the bark during the day and at night it freezes. This constant temperature fluctuation causes the bark to expand and contract. Wrapping the tree bark with a special tree wrap will decreases the temperature fluctuations and will protect the tree from cracking; we recommend having your trees wrapped around starting in October and removing the wrap around March 15. Trees that are extremely susceptible to sun scald are trees with direct southern exposure, young trees, ashes, maples, lindens, and honeylocust. It is never too late to wrap a high risk tree, so if it is not yet March 15th get the tree protected.

Winter Tree Watering:

Established trees need to be watered about once per month during the winter when little winter precipitation has occurred. Young trees that have not established require watering of at least 2 times per month when little winter precipitation has occurred. We recommend watering 5 gal of water per 1-inch caliper of trunk diameter. Organo-Lawn now offers winter watering with yucca extract. Call for pricing.

Red Maple

A Red Maple in full fall color

Removing Fallen Leaves and Winter Debris:

Funguses, insects, and diseases often transport and propagate in and underneath winter debris. Many tree funguses transfer from year to year in the fallen leaf tissue. It is very important to remove the winter debris as early as possible in the late autumn. Cleaning up the debris and removing the leaf tissue reduces the risk that these pathogens can spread or infect trees the following season.