For most of us, lawn care is something that’s reserved for the warm months of summer and the often-not-so-warm months of spring and fall. But to have a really great-looking lawn, care needs to be performed year ’round – even in the winter. It’s true, there’s not a lot that can be done to your lawn while it’s covered with snow, but there are some maintenance and planning activities that can ensure your lawn looks great when spring finally decides to visit the Northeast once more. Here’s what you can do now to help your lawn and plants stay healthy throughout the year:
- Know what snow mold looks like. Fallen snow provides a great place for fungi to develop. In New Jersey, both Typhula incarnata and Microdochium nivale are prevalent, causing gray and pink snow molds, respectively. It’s too late to do anything about snow molds once the snow has fallen, but if you notice it developing when spring thaws hit, treat it then and make a note to apply fungicide in the fall to prevent it from recurring next winter.
- Look out for voles, moles and gophers. These animals may be tiny, but the damage they do can be pretty big. Look for telltale piles of seeds and consider setting up no-kill traps for relocation. Another option: If you can determine where they like to run or tunnel (birdfeeders are a common target), keep snow away from those areas and let owls and hawks do their job.
- Keep an eye open for ice and snow damage on shrubs and trees. Heavy snows – especially those wet snows we tend to get along much of the East Coast – tend to weigh heavily on tree and shrub branches, which means bending, cracking and breaking. Even a tiny crack can allow predatory fungus and hungry insects a place to get a foothold, so take some time to remove as much snow as possible from low-hanging limbs and branches. If you notice a broken branch, cut it off to avoid more damage and make a note to seal it as soon as the outdoor temperature is warm enough.
- Take an inventory and plan your tasks. Winter is when all those beautiful seed catalogs start to arrive, and there’s a good reason: Seed retailers know that by the time January rolls around, we’ll all be itching for spring. Now is the perfect time to plan your lawn and garden and to determine what supplies you’ll need so you’ll be ready when spring sales kick in.
- Sharpen and oil tools. Dull shovels, hoes and spades can rip through tender grass and plant roots, and do more harm than good. Now is a good time to practice preventive maintenance by sharpening tool edges and providing a light coat of oil to prevent rust. Replacing a damaged cool? Invest in high-quality options, many of which offer generous warranties.
Irrigation is an important part of making sure your lawn looks great in 2015. If you have a system or you’d like to add one, give us a call. Winter is a great time to plan your system so you can enjoy your greenest, healthiest lawn.