December through February
Elite Plus Ryegrass/Fine Fescue
While Western Washington winters do allow for a more relaxed lawn maintenance schedule, a few necessary precautions remain.
Winter rains will normally provide the moisture needed to keep natural grass healthy during the winter months of December through February. In most instances, irrigation systems can often be turned off during these months and set a reminder to turn irrigation back on when the weather warms and rains decrease.
Snow covered lawns need little maintenance, but there are some key things to watch for with cool season grasses as snow starts to melt closer to spring. Snow mold is a common cold-weather fungus. To watch for this, look for circular blotches that are white or gray in color. This can be treated beforehand in the fall with a fungicide, found at nurseries or hardware stores. If it’s too late and the damage has already occurred, the area can be raked and cleared so that new grass can grow come spring. These blotches can also be reseeded in the spring, if needed.
It’s important to note that grass blades can become frozen and brittle. If there is heavy frost or light snow cover over a lawn, try to stay off the lawn as much as possible so that blades do not become broken and damaged.
If there is a history of grassy weeds, a pre-emergent can be applied prior to winter to combat weeds before they grow. Pre-emergent products target weeds in the soil before the seeds can germinate and grow.
Winter conditions will greatly slow the growth of sod. Mowing in the winter can be decreased, as needed.
Keep in mind, many of these winter maintenance measures should occur prior to the start of the season to ensure optimum lawn health into spring.