Turf Winterization Tips

As we wrap up the first week of October, complete with warm temperatures and many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors (when the smoke permits), winterization is probably only begrudgingly entering your mind.  While it is true we likely have a few more weeks of Northern Nevada’s “second summer,” here are a few tips for your grass now:

  • Now is a good time to install sod while the temperatures are still above freezing, but cool enough to give new turf a rooting advantage.  You can also re-seed areas but a cold snap could undo much of your efforts.
  • Remove leaves and debris from turf when you can.  The fall leaves may be beautiful on your trees but can cause issues if left on your turf.  Grass clippings are still a good thing to leave on your lawn though!
  • Aerate your lawn if you didn’t already do so in the spring.  Compacted soils make life difficult for our lawns and aeration can give your yard a helping hand when we warm-up again next year.
  • Turf fertilization will help your grass look great next spring and should be done before irrigation systems are shut off.  There are a wide variety of products available to help get the job done and now is a good time to take care of it.
  • It’s still a little early to turn off your irrigation system but we are getting closer.  Many people use Nevada Day as a rule of thumb, but if you see a few hard freezes coming up in the forecast you may want to turn your system off to protect against irrigation system damage.  Just bear in mind that if temperatures warm up again your landscape may get thirsty and need a drink before winter truly sets in.

Proper winterization of your turf and landscape can yield dividends  while giving you a great chance to enjoy the outdoors before temperatures go south.  Have fun!

Chad Morris is the Commercial Horticulture Program Coordinator with the University of Nevada, Reno Extension.  You can reach him by email at chadmorris@unr.edu or phone, (775) 336-0249.