Welcome to the latest issue of the Home Lawn Care Newsletter from UMN Turfgrass Science! We will provide monthly updates to address all your lawn care tasks at the times when you need to know. Please note that we will be taking a short break in publishing this newsletter - watch for our next issue in January 2023!
Nov 15, 2022: Issue 7
Staying safe and maintaining the health of your lawn this winter
Winter's coming and we want to stay safe on icy surfaces. Shoveling to keep these areas free of snow is the best first step. Many folks turn to salt (sodium chloride) to melt the ice that often follows snow removal, but remember that sodium chloride can damage your turf. To increase your lawn's salt tolerance, consider planting more salt-tolerant species such as slender creeping red fescue, strong creeping red fescue, and hard fescue. The articles linked below describe the environmental impact to water resources as well as various ways salt can damage your turfgrass, how much is enough if you do use salt, and five tips to minimize turfgrass damage from salt.
- The effects of deicing salts on landscapes from UMN Extension
- Minimize turf damage from salt this winter by Josh Friell, UMN Turfgrass Science
Still dreaming of greening up your lawn in the spring? Forget the lawn myth about “power fertilizing” in late fall
It's too late this year to fertilize your lawn. The ground is cold enough now that roots won't take up the nutrients. When the ground is snow-covered or frozen, the fertilizer will run off or pool in areas, not only impacting groundwater but also potentially causing damage to plants. Check out the UMN Lawn Care Calendar to find out just the right time to do maintenance on your lawn.
- Minnesota Lawn Care Calendar from UMN Extension
Dormant seeding may still be an option
Dormant seeding should be done before the first semi-permanent snowfall. If this recent snowfall does melt and it is dry enough to enter the area, dormant seeding can still be done any time soil temperatures are less than 45 degrees. If you've been planning ahead for this moment, you've removed some or all of the existing grass cover. The next steps are easy and you can learn more by following the link below. Remember that in the spring you should not put down pre-emergent herbicides, or do heavy maintenance on these areas (like dethatching or aerating) that could damage your new grass.
- Dormant seeding from UMN Extension
New Turfgrass Extension Educator
University of Minnesota Extension has hired a new Turfgrass Extension Educator! Dr. Jon Trappe joined Extension in October and will be working with all Minnesotans within and around the turfgrass industry. Read his latest blog post on late fall lawn care in UMN Yard and Garden News and listen to a recent podcast on WCCO's Smart Gardens where Jon answers questions from listeners about lawn care.
The UMN Turfgrass Science team will be at:
- Northern Green in Minneapolis on January 10-12, 2023
Did you know that when you buy sod in Minnesota it will likely be composed of just one species - Kentucky bluegrass? Yet if you're a regular follower of our work, you might have noticed that we often recommend the fine fescues over other species for lawns. Fine fescues have good potential to be used in sod that we hope someday will become more available commercially. Read more below about the research we have been doing with fine fescue sod:
- Assessing fine fescue traits for the development of sustainable sod by Nicole Mihelich, UMN Turfgrass Science
- Assessment of rhizomatous growth in strong creeping red fescue for sustainable sod by Nicole Mihelich, UMN Turfgrass Science
- Characterizing the diversity of strong creeping red fescue sod component traits in the field by Nicole Mihelich, UMN Turfgrass Science
- Management, harvest, and storage characteristics of low-input cool-season turfgrass sod mixtures (a scientific journal article in Agronomy Journal)