Can I seed lawn areas now so the seed will sit
in place and then grow next spring?
You are describing dormant seeding, where grass seed is planted
late in fall so it stays dormant until spring. Then as conditions
warm in spring, the seed is already in place and ready to germinate.
For northern Illinois, the time to dormant seed would be the last
week of November. The seed should be planted so there is good seed
to soil contact. In the event we get early snow, do not plant the
seed over the snow.
Dormant seeding has risks, so if a large area is to be planted,
you may want to consider waiting until spring to do so. Winter weather
conditions are unpredictable. Ideally a snow cover is desired over
a dormant seeded area to help assure the seed stays in place. Warmer
than normal conditions without snow cover is one of the potential
problems with dormant seeding.
How can I prevent a repeat of all the damage mice
did to my lawn last winter?
Last winter was rough on lawns here in northern Illinois. Voles
(field mice) did considerable damage. About all you can do at this
time is assure the lawn has been mowed right up until it stopped
growing. Avoid having your lawn excessively tall and flopping over
going into winter. Also be sure to keep cleaning up fallen leaves
to avoid having lots of leaves on the lawn under the snow. Also
rake away leaves and debris from under shrubs, especially low-growing
shrubs like some junipers, as this provides cover for voles.
Should I still fertilize my lawn?
The late fall fertilizer application is targeted for about when
the lawn stops growing but the ground is not yet frozen. The later
we get into November, the less likely the fertilization will be
beneficial. If in doubt, skip the application.
Can dandelions and ground ivy still be controlled
For northern Illinois, it is too late for effective use of herbicides.
The weeds may still be green, but most likely will not take in the
herbicide to provide control. Very cold weather could occur any
day. For northern Illinois, September into early October is a more
favorable time period for controlling perennial broadleaf weeds.
Why do some lawn areas turn brown or tan but others
are still fairly green?
One big reason is the presence of warm and cool season grasses
together in the lawn. Warm-season annuals, such as crabgrass and
foxtails, died early this fall, leaving brown areas. Perennial warm-season
grasses, such as nimblewill and zoysiagrass, are now light tan because
they have gone dormant with cooler temperatures. Cool-season grasses,
such as Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, usually stay
green until very late in fall or even early winter, depending on
the weather conditions.
You may also notice areas within a lawn will vary in color due
to microclimate factors. A sheltered area may be greener than an
exposed portion, even if the same grasses are found in each. Areas
with more available moisture may also appear greener in color.
Can I keep lawn products, such as fertilizer or
grass seed, to use next season?
If stored properly, most products will still be viable next season.
Keep grass seed cool and dry. Fertilizer bags, if already opened,
should be securely sealed so moisture is not absorbed from the air.
Also protect bags from moisture. Pesticide products, in particular
liquid formulations, should not be allowed to freeze. Choose a secure
storage location away from direct heat or flame, and where children
or pets cannot access them. Consult the product labels for more