How to Prep Your Landscape for Cold Weather

September 24, 2014 at 9:47 am

13493846_sWith colder weather on its way, you may be thinking about how to protect landscaping from the bitter cold and elements that winter inevitably brings and prepare  for spring ahead of time. There are things you – or your commercial landscape maintenance crew – can do to help make sure that your landscape will be ready when the warmer weather hits.

Aeration and Turf Over-seeding

Aerating and over-seeding can help relieve compaction in the soil from the hot summer months to allow for better retention of moisture, nutrient retention in the soil, and seed to soil contact for over-seeding. Unlike warm season grasses, cool season grasses such as fescue, rye and bluegrass do not spread. Over-seeding provides new seed to help repair stress damaged areas from the hot summer season and will provide a lush thick lawn for the following year.

Nitrogen Fertilization

When you do late season fertilization, typically you apply the bulk of the season’s nitrogen during the months of September through December, when turf still retains its vibrant summer green color. This process should not be confused with winter or dormant fertilization, in which the treatment is applied after the turf has lost most of its color and ceased growing.

To get the best results from late fall fertilization, excessive shoot growth not be encouraged by the over-application of nitrogen earlier in the season. If this occurs, cold tolerance may decrease and there may be a corresponding increase in the incidence of the snow mold diseases during the winter and the following spring. For the same reasons, late season application should be delayed if extended periods of unusually warm weather (average daily temperatures greater than 55 degrees) are being experienced, or are forecast.

Topdress your turf

Topdressing your turf with an organic based compost is not only a cost effective method to restoring stressed turf due to heat, long periods of drought, or compaction, it helps replenish valuable nutrients that are essential to a healthy lawn. Topdressing is usually performed in the fall months or early spring on areas of turf that have been damaged or stressed due to compaction, loss of nutrients, and poor soil pH. While most landscape recommendations include working organic matter into the soil before planting or digging, topdressing can be performed once turf is established without killing or damaging the existing turf.