While turf care isn’t as extensive during winter compared to what is done during spring or summer, your turf still needs care and attention. Winter is not the time to leave your turf alone and yet it is also not the time to tinker or do active maintenance on it as you will more likely cause more harm than good. Find out if you are doing any of the ones listed below – if so, you could be damaging your turf:
1. You are not watering your turf.
Your turf may not need as much water during winter as grass doesn’t grow as fast, but they still need water. Although grass isn’t growing above ground (and may have turned to brown), it is actually strengthening its roots underground. With a stronger root system, grass will grow better in spring. Continue to water your turf ever four weeks, provided it doesn’t snow or rain until the grass turns green in the spring. Then your irrigation schedule goes back to normal.
2. You are doing turf maintenance too late in the season.
Some aspects of turf care like aeration, detaching and fertilizing should be done in an actively growing turf. Do not perform these tasks when there are less than four weeks in the growing season (spring and summer). Fertilizers that contain potassium are recommended because it will increase grass’ cold tolerance. Steer clear from fertilizers that have high dosages of quick-release nitrogen.
3. You are mowing grass too close to the ground.
Since grass doesn’t grow as fast, it should be kept a bit longer during winter. Grass blades collect sunlight for photosynthesis to feed roots along with water. When grass is cut too low, you will most likely have bald areas since grass cut too short tend to burn and die. Weeds will also take this opportunity to creep in.
4. You are not removing leaves and debris as often as possible.
It can be a challenge raking autumn leaves when the temperatures are freezing but if the grass can’t perform photosynthesis – remember it needs sunlight – you are limiting its ability to produce food. Having a pile of leaves on top of your turf does just that. Also, debris is prone to fungus and bugs that will likely infest your turf. If you don’t remove it in a timely manner, you will most likely end up with bald spots or dead grass underneath.
5. Your turf receives the same amount of foot traffic during winter.
Since grass isn’t growing as quickly, damage from foot traffic can’t be repaired as fast. It’s a better idea to let your turf rest. Avoid having active sports played on the turf during the season if possible.
It’s not a good time to sit back and let your turf hibernate in the colder months ahead.
If you take care of your turf even during winter, it will ready to spring into life when spring arrives.