Tips to deal with winter kill in your yard

Lawns are starting to green up and that’s when we’ll begin to see the damaged areas in the turf.

What horticulturists call “winter kill” occurs in part due to deep frost and harsh exposure over the winter months. You’ll recognize winter damage as patches where the lawn didn’t recover from its winter nap. You will see bare patches in the lawn or areas where weeds are starting to fill in those bare spots. Weeds will be an issue this year, so the best defense is to get on the offensive right away. The sooner weeds are controlled in early spring, the fewer you will have to deal with the rest of the season.

Because a healthy lawn actually is more weed resistant, it’s critical to keep your lawn healthy.

Good care starts with the standard maintenance practices:

• Fertilize. An easy tip is to remember to fertilize around the summer holidays. So if you didn’t fertilize around the Memorial Day weekend, do it now.

• Aerate the lawn. Make sure you water well before you aerate so the soil is moist and the aeration machine can do its job.

• Control weeds early to keep new seeds from germinating and growing more weeds.

• Use a mulching mower and leave clippings on top of the grass. This helps hold in moisture.

Once you’ve dealt with the weeds in the bare areas, the next step is to over-seed them. Do this early in the season so new grass can reclaim those bare spots for a good-looking appearance.

Here are the steps:

• Poke some holes in the soil throughout the area with a screwdriver.

• Scatter seed — buy it from a local garden center and get a mix that’s the same as your existing lawn.

• Top the seed with a layer of compost.

• Water daily by hand so that the soil remains moist but not saturated with water. The seeds need moisture to germinate. Some areas are under water restrictions, so make sure you water by hand — no extra watering with the whole sprinkler system on non-watering days. Once the grass blades start to establish, cut back on the amount of water.

Keeping the weeds at bay and over-seeding early in the season will result in a healthy and nice-looking lawn you can enjoy for the rest of the growing season.

Becky Garber is member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.


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The VailDaily Updated Jun 9, 2013 05:03PM Published Jun 10, 2013 02:46PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.