Winter stress showed up in some trees in Iowa after last winter.

Winter stress showed up in some trees in Iowa after last winter.

More snow is in the weekend forecast as colder-than-normal temperatures persist for much of Iowa in the teens, 20s and low 30s. Many of us still have leaf raking and other yard work to do before winter arrives, but Midwest extension educator John Fech says the best thing you can do for your lawn is to keep off the grass.

“When you’ve got that layer of ice out there, it’s really best to just lay off of it,” Fech says. “If you’ve got a big pile of leaves, you’ve got a big pile of leaves and you can get to it when we get some warmer days. You can get some crunching on that ice and break off a lot of crowns of the grass. To be on the safe side, wait until it warms up a bit.”

Many Iowans’ evergreen trees emerged with brown needles after a tough winter last year, so he says preventative care may be called for if you have those trees. “Our broadleaf evergreens really took it on the chin last year,” Fech says. “On days when we get above freezing, say when we get above 35 or 40 degrees, there is a material called an anti-dessicant, an anti-drying agent that you can apply to them. Typically, three times over the winter. Pick out a day when we do perk back up into the high 30s and go from there.”

If you’ve planted trees on your property in the past year, you’ll likely want to protect those, too, for the winter ahead. “Put some sort of tree protector on the trunk, a stiff piece of PVC that you split down the middle,” he says. “That would work real well to protect it against rabbit damage, squirrel damage, mouse damage.”

Forecasters say we should see more seasonable, warmer temperatures -perhaps- by late next week.

By Karla James