Yes they do. All over the place! Only a few weeks ago we were seeking shade under our trees in Southern Gables, wondering if the heat would ever let up. With a few chilly nights, a cold front or two passing through with parcels of Arctic air, and wham! Here we are, facing winter. It’s OK, we’ve seen it before.
You might be one of the environmentally-aware neighbors who has gone to xeriscaping, and lawns are a relic of the past. If so, good for you! You’ll probably still have leaves to deal with, so you can skip down to that part. For those with lawn care concerns though, it’s time to make some choices.
It’s a good time to repair those patchy areas.
if the rabbits got to part of your lawn, or the sprinklers just kept missing it and it got stressed or worn out over the summer, there’s no magic in the winter snows that will fix it. Now is a good time to do some rescue work, before the first hard freeze. Our local business supporter Ace Hardware has seeding products made for just that kind of repair. The bag or box will tell you to keep the soil moist. We still have enough warm days left to give the sprouts a good start with frequent light watering and then they will go dormant along with the established grass, ready to join the older generation next spring.
The grass is ready to rest. You can start saving on water.
For those of us who still have sprinklers, at least it’s a relief to be able to cut back on the use of water and shut them down for the winter. If you haven’t already blown out your sprinklers by now, it’s about time. There will probably be another few weeks at most before the first good freeze. You can use a hose sprinkler a time or two if if it makes you feel better, or if needed to keep any newly reseeded areas moist. Be sure to disconnect the hose afterward though, to protect against the next freeze. A freeze at the faucet caused by water trapped in the hose can lead to an expensive repair. Once the cold weather sets in for good, you can drop the watering entirely.
Rake your leaves
If you keep the leaves on the lawn thinking they will provide some beneficial insulation, that’s not what will happen. As the sunlight dwindles, leaves that stay on your yard will block the remaining sunlight and encourage mold growth. If you really want to use them for mulch right where they are, in a garden bed or around your trees, chop them up into tiny pieces with your lawn mower. If you will not be using the processed leaves for mulch or compost, it’s not good to throw them out with the trash. If you’re a Southern Gables resident, you can take them into our Southern Gables Leaf Collection Day event on November 5 at Green Gables Elementary. We will have the leaves made into compost so they will benefit the environment and not go to waste in a landfill. By the way, that’s just for us in the Southern Gables neighborhood. Please don’t spread the word to others outside of Southern Gables. Last year, people came from all over. We got overwhelmed and had to bring in extra dumpsters, and still had to start turning people away before the end of the day.
Lower the mower.
For the last trim of the season as the grass starts to go dormant, adjust your mower to cut at about 2 inches or a little less. Being cut higher in the summer helps shade the roots and blades of grass to retain moisture, but as the snows come on the extra height becomes a liability. In the winter it’s better to keep the grass from being pressed down into a matted mess under the snow, developing snow mold in the shady spots where the snow stays and piles up,
It takes a little work
… to get prepared for winter, but it’s nothing like the generations before us who had to deal with preserving food, chopping wood for heat, and filling the chinks between the logs with rags to keep out the cold. Even here in the suburbs with all our modern conveniences, it takes a little work when the seasons change.