How to Revive a Soggy Lawn After a Long Winter
For many parts of the country, winters can be bitterly cold with several feet of fallen snow. However, the flooded messes of mud and puddles that spring brings after bidding Jack Frost farewell are arguably worse to deal with than the cold itself.
While it will take time for the ground to unfreeze and the snow to melt, your once-perfect lawn can come back from even the worst winters with these few steps.
Step 1 – Be Patient
Your lawn looks like Lake Michigan, and you’re pretty sure you saw fish swimming in it the other day. It’s frustrating to have to sit back and look at your soggy grass while the temperatures slowly head into the 60s and 70s.
Although you’ll want to start the rescue, you’ll probably have to wait a few weeks. This is because you can’t just start working once the puddles disappear; you have to wait until the lawn dries out. Walking on a moist and soggy lawn will only make the situation worse. Even if the grass grows in some areas, hold back on mowing until they’ve fully dried.
Step 2 – Clear, Test, and Fertilize
Begin by cleaning up the lawn. Sediment, branches, and other debris collect through the winter months, littering your space.
Once the debris is clear, it’s time to check the pH and nutrient levels of your soil because melting snow can wash away important nutrients. To do this, you can purchase a soil test-kit that usually includes vials, tablets, and a chart to understand your testing results. Follow the instructions for your specific testing kit. Or, you can make your own soil-pH testing kit. If the levels are off, you can adjust them quickly by adding new fertilizer.
Step 3 – Air It Out
All that heavy snow on the ground can compact the soil. It’s hard for the grass roots to get air if everything is compacted. Also, through the months the snow accumulates, dirt and other sediment can cover the grass, halting grass growth. In the beginning of spring, you should air everything out.
Use an aerator to let air into the roots. While you can purchase one that simply pokes holes into the soil, it’s best to buy one that removes actual plugs of soil from your lawn.
Step 4 – Reseed Where Needed
If there are still spots where grass won’t grow, you are going to need to reseed. This might not be easy because hungry birds will soon be coming back to your lawn. Therefore, if the areas are large enough, sod is the best option. It is important that you wait to reseed until both the top of the ground and several inches below have thawed completely.
Step 5 – Rid Your Lawn of Weeds
While grass can’t always cope with the extreme temperatures some winters bring, weeds can. Watch out for weeds sprouting up in areas where the grass is thin or rebuilding. Be prepared to dig up the roots or use a strong weed killer.