3 Tricks To Undo the Damage Winter Did to Your Lawn

Avoid Dead Grass with Early Spring Lawn CareImage: University of Minnesota Extension

First up: get rid of the ugly, dead turf.

Your poor lawn needs a little tender care after winter’s freezing temps.

“Snow acts like a cover, but ice is bad for turf,” says Chris Lemcke, technical director of Weed Man USA lawn care. “Ice freezes plant cells and crushes blades and leads to death.”

Freeze-thaw-freeze conditions are even worse for turf roots, which can become brittle and die.  Road salt also is bad for lawns. The turf near streets and along driveways and paths may need resuscitation or replacement when spring grass should be greening up.

#1 Pull Up Dead Turf

Dead patches of lawn are easy to pull up because no roots bind the turf to the soil. Cut around dead areas with a spade, then yank up the patch. 

#2 Add Sod

If you can afford sod — 8-30 cents/sq. ft. compared with $28 for a 5-pound bag of seed that’ll cover 2,000 sq. ft. — Lemcke recommends laying sod on dead patches instead of seeding. Sod is more forgiving when it comes to watering and resists weeds better than seed.

If seed is the more affordable option for you, reseed after the last chance of frost and soil temps reach 50-65 degrees:

  • Scatter seed on soil and lightly rake it in.
  • Water daily with a light mist for 15 minutes to keep soil moist. If the soil dries out, seed will not germinate.
  • When seed germinates, water deeply.
  • Feed young blades a high-phosphorous fertilizer.
  • Let grass grow at least 3 inches before its first cut. 

#3 Add Topsoil to Low Spots

Add topsoil (and sod or seed) to low areas of your yard, where water can settle and freeze. 

Related:  Why Is My Grass Turning Brown?