December Lawn and Garden Checklist
On behalf of everyone here at Nature’s Seed, I’d like to thank all our customers for another great year. I hope everyone was successful with their seeding projects, no matter how big or small. It seemed December snuck up on us pretty quick this year. For many of us, this time of year provides a much needed rest from the toils of the past season. December also brings a rest for our gardens, lawns and pastures as temperatures drop and dormancy sets in. But this doesn’t mean we’re totally off the hook yet; there are still a few things we should do before the depths of winter set in.
Preparing Your Lawn
First, ensure your lawn is ready for its winter break by maintaining a final winter height of two inches. A two inch winter height is optimal for several reasons. Cutting your grass too short right before winter can leave it susceptible to drying winter winds and even sun damage if there is a lack of snow cover. More than three inches can cause problems as the grass bends and folds from snow cover. This contributes to fungal diseases and mold issues. Also, too much grass under the winter snows create perfect habitat for mice and other rodents. It’s always annoying to find out that rodents have turned your beautiful lawn into the Holiday Inn over the winter break.
If you haven’t already, be sure to winterize your lawn mowing equipment. Start with a thorough cleaning using soap and water. Grass clippings left in and on equipment are highly corrosive. Be sure to scrape off the accumulated grass particles around the mower blades, as well as around the engine. If you’ve been bagging your grass clippings, clean out the mower bag as much as possible. The best way to shorten the life of your mower bags is to leave grass clippings in them all winter. Fill the gas tanks completely and add a fuel stabilizer. Don’t forget to inspect belts and blades and replace any that have become worn out. Finally, remove the battery and place it in a warm area. It’s also a good idea to periodically charge it throughout the winter.
Ice Melt Basics
If you live in an area where temperatures regularly dip below freezing in the winter, now is the time to start thinking about ice melt. Nobody likes an ice rink for a driveway. However, be careful with what you choose to use. Ice melts can be very effective, but they can also be damaging to your lawn and garden if misused. Most commercially available ice melt contains a type of chloride – calcium chloride, sodium chloride or magnesium chloride. Chloride toxicity in lawns and gardens can happen when using any of these materials. Salt substitutes are available, as well as a variety of traction improving substances such as sand, cat litter and sawdust. If a chloride melt is used, be sure not to over-apply.
Create Plans and Blueprints
Happy holidays from the Nature’s Seed team!