Experts say 2015 is the warmest year on record. Here in Denver that is not difficult to believe. Normally we would be buried under feet of snow right now, but no such luck. It looks like the temperatures on Christmas day will be near the 50s. In fact, so far this year we have had only two significant snows, and neither of them reached much more than a foot. If you check the ten day weather forecast, as I like to do every day, you will see there is absolutely zero precipitation predicted. It looks like it’s going to be a dry winter, at least unless El Nino kicks in…
But, the question is, what does this have to do with lawns? Well, dry, cold temperatures causes grass to become incredibly weak. This leaves it open to disease, yellowing, or even death. It might be a good idea to get worried now. One of the worst blights winter can bring is mites. Mites are little red bugs. They are hard to see, but they do a lot of damage. Mites love dry conditions, and if your lawn is not watered, will absolutely move in and start damaging you grass. You can and should find more information on mites here or here for more about winter watering.
Now, I myself have had some problems with these little critters, and after some research, maybe too much research, I found there is one simple way to get rid of these little red pests: winter watering. It sounds weird, I know. Like many, I turn my sprinklers off in the winter. My grass is yellow and dormant, and I’m happy to leave it there until spring. However, since this winter has been so dry, I to just run the hose out and put on a manual sprinkler. No need to fire up the system and then have to blow it out again after watering.
Now, the problem with winter watering is you cannot just pour tons of water on your grass like in summer. The grass is still dormant and cannot handle that much water. Also there is a danger of freezing. There is a certain art to winter watering any lawn owner should follow. First, only water during the day. The best time is mid-day. Second make sure the temperature is 40 degrees or above. Third, it can be easy to just want to water every day to get rid of the mites. This is a bad idea. You should only water about twice a month. Don’t worry, the water will do its work on its own. Follow these easy steps and you’ll wash those mites away. Not only that, but you’ll have healthy, stronger grass. I’m dreaming of Summer already.