It’s been a rough season, thanks to a record low temperatures and winter and spring snowstorms bearing down on warmth-deprived Bergen County. The good news is that it’s time to start thinking about the lawn and looking forward to getting back out of doors. These winter lawn care tips can help with dead grass repair as you look forward to spring.
Some parts of the county saw as much as 7 inches of snow earlier this month and strong winds lashed our landscapes. With all that snow and ice gone for now, New Jersey residents are getting a chance to go out and survey the damage to grass, trees, and shrubs. As winter loosens its grip, take this opportunity to inspect your property and prepare to take action with these strategies to deal with lawn damage.
Why Does My Lawn Look So Rough?
Lawns really take a beating in the winter with cold temperatures freezing the grass and cold, dry winds dehydrating the plants. All that de-icing salt you put out to prevent Aunt Ellen falling and breaking a hip can have a negative impact too. Since salt draws moisture, the county’s efforts to keep roads and sidewalks clear also affect your plants and grass nearer the street.
Piles of snow can cause problems as well. That sledding jump your kids built or even the Olaf snowman you had melting in the yard for weeks meant piles of compacted snow sat on the grass for longer.
Wildlife may also have been foraging for food in your yard during the cold of winter. As it warms up, you may see indications that your lawn, shrubs, and trees were providing a smorgasbord to the local critters.
Reviving Grass after Winter Storms
Before throwing in the proverbial towel and deciding all of your grass is dead, first rake away some of the brown to survey the lawn surface. Look for any sign of green, which would indicate the lawn is only dormant and on the road to recovery.
Where there are no signs of life take the following steps to green up your grass again:
- Remove the dead grass. Using a rotary tiller to loosen the soil in that part of the yard can help.
- Lay down a light layer of fresh topsoil. Use a rake or the tiller to blend the old and new soil together.
- Select a quality grass seed and spread it uniformly across the soil.
- Rake the seed gently into the soil. You might use the back of a rake to tamp the seeds down.
- Keep the new grass areas moist until the seeds sprout.
Although sod provides the benefit of “instant” grass, seeded lawns feature a more diverse seed mix and can tolerate hot, dry summer conditions. Root development will also be better over time in a seed lawn vs. a sod lawn.
Additional Winter Lawn Care Tips
Along with dead grass repair, you’ll also want to take stock of the state of your trees and shrubs. Prune or remove any storm-damaged branches. Left unattended damaged trees are more susceptible to insect and disease. Remove any debris from the yard and, once you have an unobstructed surface, consider aerating. Heavy snow over the winter can make it difficult for roots to get the necessary nutrients otherwise.
As the lawn recovers you may also see a resurgence of weeds. Take preventative measures now and pull up now any weeds starting to grow. Do NOT apply fertilizer, as the ground is still cold and wet.
Your lawn deserves regular care and maintenance in order to keep looking its best.
Horizon’s Turf Care program includes six visits to promote a lush, inviting lawn. From early spring through late fall, our landscape technicians:
- Fertilize your turf at optimum times throughout the season.
- Control crabgrass, weeds, and insects as needed.
- Analyze soil and lawn appearance to maintain consistent, lush foundation.
- Ensure essential nutrients for drought recovery or winter survival.
Having endured the harsh conditions of winter already, you may have little interest in investing your effort into turning the yard around in time for spring entertaining. Horizon’s lawn care and landscape professionals are here to help you get your lawn and landscape back in tiptop shape.