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April 17, 2014

Experts’ tips can help your lawn bounce back

AKRON, Ohio — Chances are your lawn is looking a bit bedraggled after this rough winter.

That’s not surprising. Between brutally cold temperatures and drying winds, turf took a beating this year.

Probably it will come back just fine, but a little TLC can prevent problems, reverse damage and let your lawn green up faster, lawn care experts Melinda Myers and Joe Rimelspach said.

Here’s what they recommend.

PREVENT SNOW MOLD

Grass in the shade and other places where snow and ice linger is susceptible to snow mold, a fuzzy, pink or gray fungus that can damage or kill grass, said Myers, a horticulturist, garden writer and radio and TV host whose books include “The Ohio Lawn Guide.”

Snow mold likes moist environments, she said, so it’s a good idea to lightly rake grass in those vulnerable areas to fluff it and allow light and air to penetrate. A leaf rake will work fine, Myers said.

The crowns of the grass plants are still alive, so the grass can come back, said Rimelspach, a turf grass disease specialist at Ohio State University. But Myers recommended taking action now, before you see signs of fungus.

“Most people notice it when the grass is dead, which is too late,” she said.

REPAIR DAMAGE

Snowplows, snowblowers and shovels can do a number on grass, especially along driveways and sidewalks.

Those areas may need to be reseeded or sodded, Rimelspach said. He recommended doing that as soon as possible, as long as the soil isn’t frozen or very muddy. You want to give the new grass as much time as possible to mature before summer arrives, so it can better weather the stresses of high temperatures and dry spells, he explained.

Since most pre-emergent weed treatments also prevent grass seeds from germinating, you need to be careful about applying crabgrass killer if you’re doing a lot of repairs, Myers said. She suggested skipping the crabgrass treatment this year or at least avoiding newly seeded areas.

Or you can use a new weed-killer called Tenacity, Rimelspach said. The product, made by Syngenta, is a selective herbicide that kills certain weeds but not turf grass.

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