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Post-Winter Lawn Problems: Giving Your Lawn Time to Heal

by Joe Cooper, All About Lawns Columnist

Pests, fungi, stress: these are common symptoms of the post-winter lawn, and enemies to the spring growth we all look forward to. As the winter season begins to close, thinking ahead about remedies and repair for dormant lawns can help return that great green as soon as possible.

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  • Pests: Grubs, cinch bugs, molecrickets, and other creepy crawlers beneath the surface of your lawn can often live comfortably during the winter months, especially in climates with mild temperatures. Getting rid of these squatters is top priority once spring arrives. For grubs, insecticides should do the trick; for cinch bugs, regular watering is usually the best remedy. For molecrickets, check your local greenhouse or hardware store for the best chemical products.
    Tip: sometimes these products will eliminate some of the friendlies in your lawn, like earthworms. Giving your lawn time to recover after applying these remedies.
  • Fighting fungus: Lawn fungus lives off of nitrogen, the same stuff that gives your lawn life through fertilizer and other nutrient-rich lawn foods. Discovering lawn fungus after the winter months should be followed not by weed-killer and fertilizer in dead areas, but fungicide. A quick trip to your local greenhouse or hardware store can yield the right chemical for this pesky pest.
    Tip: don't overdo it with the fungicide. Less is more, and being regular with treatment will lead to your reward: a healthier lawn.
  • Relieving stress: If you live in a cold climate with high moisture, chances are your lawn has been buried under a few inches of snow for a few months. And if you were covered in the white stuff for a few months, chances are you wouldn't look so healthy either. Giving your lawn time to acclimate to the warmer temperatures is sometimes all it needs to get its life back. Hold off on mowing, and begin your watering routine slowly. Your lawn should come back within three-to-four weeks after winter's official end.
    Tip: wait to fertilize until spring has settled for sure. Sometimes a temperature upswing can be interrupted by a cold snap that can kill your lawn food before it makes it into the soil.

With each of these challenges and their solutions, remember that your lawn needs time to recover. Paying close attention and giving it a few weeks before reevaluating is good practice come springtime.

About the Author
Joe Cooper writes education, home services, and design articles, and manages corporate communications. He holds a bachelor's in American Literature from UCLA.

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