Dry, warm, windy, sunny winter days: A recipe for lawn winterkill

It’s been a dry fall and early winter throughout most of Colorado — in spite of the recent snow (that’s rapidly disappearing as I write this). Little precipitation, combined with windy, sunny and warm days, is a pretty good recipe for some winter turf injury (aka “winterkill”). Throw in some alternating extreme cold with the warm days and things get potentially worse for turf, trees and shrubs in our landscapes. But not all “winterkill” is the same when it comes to turf. Turf, trees, shrubs and other landscape plants may not be growing and, thus, using much water during the winter. But when it’s dry, windy, sunny and humidity is low, our landscape plants are losing water. When we don’t receive enough snow to provide periods of snow cover during the winter and plants aren’t mulched (like turf), are young and not fully established, or have poorly developed root systems, winter watering can be essential for preventing winter injury or death. When weather allows (above freezing for a day or two), run a hose and sprinkler out to the drier parts of your landscape (especially south- and west-facing parts of your landscape), to new sod, trees and shrubs, and to areas where you have experienced winter injury in the past (perhaps from turf mites). Apply enough water to moisten the crowns of the turf plants and to get some water into the root zone of new trees and shrubs. The goal isn’t deep watering, but rather to prevent desiccation of crowns and young root systems. Information for this article was taken from the Colorado State University (CSU) Extension website: “Winter Lawnkill” written by Tony Koski, CSU Extension turfgrass specialist, horticulture and landscape architecture. Beef symposium The 35th Annual San Juan Basin Extension Beef Cattle Symposium will be held on Feb. 7 at McGee Park in Farmington, N.M., and costs $25. Please contact the San Juan County Extension Office at (505) 334-9496 to register. CPR and first aid classes CPR and first aid certification classes are now being offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 pm. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931. We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience. More about CSU Extension CSU Extension is your local university community connection for research-based information about natural resource management; living well through raising kids, eating right and spending smart; gardening and commercial horticulture; the latest agricultural production technologies and community development. Extension 4-H and youth development programs reach more than 100,000 young people annually. CSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.

This story was posted on January 31, 2018.