Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Green With Envy

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Picture 089I have to admit, I don’t often take notice of the grass under my feet. As long as it is green and growing, who cares? I would much rather focus on the flowerbeds and tree canopies. This is why the garden shop’s advertising of lawn winterizing surprises me each fall – “Oh yeah, there’s grass out there, too.”

What does it mean to winterize your lawn? Is it just another gimmick to get us into the store?

“Winterizing” is such a dirty word to me! If only we could go from the vibrant colors of fall right to the blooming buds of spring! Unfortunately we cannot, and there are a few steps we can take – in our lawns, just like our flowerbeds – to ensure the best spring possible.

Step 1. Rake up all leaves and debris. Take out some of your aggression in the lawn and rake out some of the deep thatch that has built up over the season. A thorough raking will rid your lawn of possible winter homes for pest and diseases, as well as jumpstart your spring garden clean-out.

 Step 2. Consider reseeding and fertilizing your lawn. Have bare patches? Fall is a great time for grass seeds to take root. Once the temps fall, there are fewer pests and diseases, so your grass can mature without competition. And if your lawn has many stresses throughout the season – heat, draught and high traffic to name a few – fertilizing might be a good idea. Feeding your lawn in the fall will ensure a greener late-season lawn as well as promote healthy plants going into the harsh winter and quicker bounce-back in the spring. There are many fertilizers available for late season application, with many high in phosphorous for root development.

But take note: Just like trees and perennials, your lawn goes through a hardening-off process. Fertilizing too late can cause a spurt of new growth you do not want going into winter.

Step 3. Give your lawn one final cut. Leaving your grass too long (most say over 2 ½ inches) can cause it to lay over once snow falls. The grass can develop a thick mat (just like left leaves) that can create a nurturing environment for disease.


See you in the gardens.


Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

October 22, 2009 at 6:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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