We have had warmer, drier winters in many parts of the U.S. over the past couple of years. This weather is very hard on our turf, ornamentals and other plants, not to mention the damage caused by putting up holiday displays multiple times from October to January to celebrate the holidays.
All of these activities are hard on our turf.
This is the time of year when the turf is in a dormant state and not actively growing. The plant's defense for stress is to grow and to fill in areas where stress and damage has occurred.
Ideas to Improve Turf in the Winter
We can plan for any potential damage by doing the following cultural activities to help the turf during this time of the year.
Use wetting agents and fertilizers.
Water the turf prior to setting up holiday decorations to decrease the damage from holiday displays. Use wetting agents to help move more water into the soil. It will hold the water in the soil for much longer, making it readily available for the lawn and plants.
Wetting agents and fertilizers are available as liquid and granular applications. Granular applications may be best as they limit the damage in spray equipment caused by freezing temperatures.
WinField United 6-3-1 would be a great choice for this application. It's a blend of organic fertilizer, humates and wetting agents that help with water management and soil conditioning. Hose end sprayers are also perfect for making these applications. Use 6-3-1 with wetting agent tablets or liquid applications with a hose end sprayer to help move the water into the stressed root system.
Use plant-growth stimulators.
Note the areas where the holiday displays were set up, and then plan for additional aeration, over-seeding and early fertilizer applications in the spring. These applications may be needed to snap the areas out of the stress and damage caused by setting up holiday decorations months earlier. Applications of Gravity PGS and Gravity AMP with a quick-release nitrogen source would speed up this recovery.
Take care when salting driveways.
Salt can be very damaging to turf and ornamentals. Avoid over-salting the sidewalks and driveways during the winter. Protect the turf and landscape beds by creating a barrier with landscape fabric. The plants can also be covered with burlap or other materials to prevent exposure to the salt.
Protect Your Lawn and Plants with WinField
It's easy to overlook the damage that may occur over the winter to your lawn and ornamentals. The stresses from holiday displays and the traditional family football game in the spring takes its toll on the yard as everything starts to green up. By planning for this damage in the fall and being ready with a plan of attack in the spring, you can keep these areas healthy and actively growing with the rest of your turf.