Synthetic grass, or artificial turf, is making an appearance in more and more home lawns. This is in part because it looks and feels more realistic than ever, making it a suitable lawn replacement whether for the whole yard or beneath a play structure. It is also low maintenance, although some care is required to keep it looking it's best. The following tips can help you maintain the turf through the winter months.

Tip #1: Remove all leaves

Fall leaves can look quite striking and attractive against the emerald green of the synthetic grass, but if left alone they can damage the turf or cause mold growth. The same goes for fallen twigs, berries, and fruits. The best way to remove these items is with a leaf blower on a dry day. Raking can damage the turf, although you can rake lightly to gather larger fallen items like apples. Just be careful not to dig into the turf.

Tip #2: Don't use ice melt salts

The variety of salts and chemical crystals available to melt ice may be increasing, but none of them have a place on your synthetic turf. They can damage the turf if left on it for too long, so it's best to avoid their use altogether. In fact, you may also want to avoid using them in spots where they could be tracked onto the turf, such as on neighboring sidewalks.

Tip #3: Opt for a snowblower

Shoveling is more likely to damage the turf, since the blade of the shovel can dig into and cut the synthetic grass blades. Instead, use a snow blower that is set to leave behind a half inch of snow or so. Even better, simply be patient and allow the snow to melt naturally. It won't harm the turf by sitting upon it.

Tip #4: Deep clean in spring

Winter will leave behind its mark, usually in the form of dirt but sometimes as moss or mildew growth. Fortunately, these are easy to clean off of the synthetic grass. As soon as the temperatures are above freezing, hose down the entire lawn to remove the dirt and most of the moss. You can then spray the surface with a moss killer that is formulated for use on the synthetic lawn. This will remove much of the debris. A push broom with natural or synthetic bristles, not metal, can be pushed across the lawn to further loosen the dirt before rinsing. This will also help unmat the grass blades so they stand erect and look their best.

For more help, speak with an artificial turf dealer or installer.