We spend so very little time in our yards during the winter, mostly because it’s covered in snow. Taking care of our lawns is probably the last thing on our minds during these cold months, right?
But there are actually some good winter lawn care tips you should consider to ensure your grass and yard stays healthy for the next year. So if you’re like me and take pride in your property, read on to learn more about taking care of your lawn during the Winter.
LET’S BREAK IT DOWN
There are lots of ways to maintain your lawn and ensure a healthy outcome in the Spring. These tips are the best ways to do that.
FERTILIZE IN WINTER
This sounds crazy, I know, but fertilizing your lawn for the winter can be very beneficial. Using some proper fertilizer that’s meant for this, cover your lawn in the weeks of late Fall or early Winter, just before the first major frost sets in. This helps to replace any lost nutrients that may occur during the first freeze, and sort of locks them in, like flash frozen veggies.
Once the snow falls and the ground freezes, the fertilizer will feed your soil and the roots hidden underneath all Winter long. Then, when Spring comes along, you’ll be surprised to find a lush and healthy lawn underneath all that snow.
TREES AND SHRUBS
This is also the case for any trees or shrubs you have on your property. Any living thing will need heavy amounts of nitrogen to survive the cold months. Nitrogen-rich soil won’t promote growth but will nourish everything while the blanket of cold rests on top. Sprinkle the fertilizer along the base of the plants so it seeps into the root below, which will nourish your plants while the snow does its thing.
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So fertilizing your lawn before the snow falls help nourish your grass. But what about the spots that are already dead or damaged? Fertilizer won’t help those areas once the snow comes. You need to seed them, and overseeding is even recommended to aggressively tackle the issue.
If you leave dead spots under the snow, there’s almost no hope for them the next year. By seeding those spots, you’re literally planting the seed for a great lawn in the Spring.
BEST TIME TO SEED
The best times to do pre-winter seeding is late August to mid-September. After you’ve spread the seeds, make sure to keep the spots watered well, every other day even, until the snow or frost sets in. Next year, when things begin to defrost, you’re left with a healthy lawn to work with.
During the warm and dry Summer months, your soil become hard and thirsty. This poses an issue when the cold weather comes in because your soil can’t breathe. A good visual is to imagine your lawn turning to concrete and then snow falling on top of that. How would your root system thrive during that cold season? It simply can’t.
WHAT IS AERATION, ANYWAYS?
Aeration is when you pull the small plug of soil from your property to create pores, essentially. This opens up the surface soil and allows the root system to breath and absorb any necessary nutrients you’re sprinkling on top in the form of fertilizer or seeding. By aerating your lawn, you creating a new rhizome or “root-shoot”. The more aeration that’s’ done prior to Winter, the better and more luscious your lawn will be in the Spring.
Raking may seem like such a simple task when it comes to maintaining your lawn, but it’s actually quite important. Raking the dead, fallen leaves from autumn helps aid in the cleanup process. But raking also helps stir up the surface soil and opens pores to the root system below. Raking can be a good way to prepare your lawn before seeding, too.
Sprinkling seeds or fertilizer over grass that’s compact or a lawn that’s covered in leaves is pointless, the nutrients can’t fully seep into the soil. So rake your lawn, trim the grass, and then proceed to cover it with fertilizer and/or seeding. Just like anything, it’s all about preparation.
Just like any other form of prepping, weeding has the same effect. If you truly care about the health of your lawn, then you won’t skip on weeding during the Fall. Yes, it’s a pain the butt, but it’s one of the most important factors of all, in my opinion.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
By pulling any leftover weeds during prep time, you clear your lawn and garden of anything that can kill your grass. Weeds are aggressive and will do anything to survive. Throw some heavy snow and bitter frost in the mix and your lawn is toast.
Weeds will suck any nutrients that your grass may need and you’ll be left with a brown lawn in the Spring and flourishing weeds.
HOW TO DO IT
There are a few ways to go about it. If you have a well-system for your drinking water, using chemicals to de-weed your property is not recommended because they can seep down into the soil and into your water supply. Unfortunately, you’re left with the old fashioned way; pulling by hand. Take a weekend in the Fall to yank out any dominating weeds. If you don’t have a well-system to worry about, then you can safely use the aid of weed killer chemicals.
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So, just like the hair on your head, keeping your lawn nice and trimmed will benefit you in so many ways. By leaving your grass long during the Winter, you hurting it. The tall blades fold over and are packed down by ice and snow. Then, your lawn can’t breathe and begins to die, leaving you with mushy, dead grass in the Springtime.
During the last few weeks of Fall, lower the blade on your mower little by little, so you gradually cut your grass shorter. Doing it in one shot can shock your grass, and result in it dying before the Winter even hits.
Also, if you leave it long, mice and other little creatures will seek warm refuge in it during the cold months, and they can destroy your lawn in no time with burrowing and leaving feces around. The acidity in their urine can cause some serious, deep damage to your grass. If you have a nice, buzzed lawn when the snowfall, your grass will thrive in the Spring. And that’s really the end goal here, right?
Some of you may look out onto your lawn as the first snowfall and see a child’s toy or a few stray sticks and think, “I’ll grab it in the Spring.” Well, that’s one of the worst things you can do to your lawn. Leaving items out there while the snow piles on top suffocates your grass and create dead, yellow spots in the Springtime.
WHEN TO CLEAN UP
In the late weeks of fall, just before the snow comes, take a day to head out and rake up any dead leaves, pick up toys, remove any garbage or stray sticks. You’ll be glad you did, and your lawn will thank you for it. If proper clean up isn’t done before the cold season, your lawn will struggle to thrive next year. You’ll be left with uneven grass, dead spots, and grass mold.
Dealing with dead spots in the Spring can be annoying and expensive as it often results in a complete overhaul. This can include excavating and laying brand new sod. It’s a fresh start, but it can definitely be avoided with proper winter lawn care steps.
LIMIT LAWN TRAFFIC
This means keeping people off your lawn, even when there’s snow on it. Keep your walkways clear of ice and snow or other debris so your family, as well as guests, can safely and comfortably walk along them. If your walkways are blocked, what’s to stop them from trampling all over your fragile lawn?
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For those of you who live in areas that don’t really see snow but still get the dead, brown grass during Winter, the unsightly appearance tells people that it’s okay to walk on it. Consider putting a lawn sign out that states to keep off the grass. Some people even go to greater lengths as to install a temporary fence. It may seem pretentious, but it will save your lawn until Spring.
Did you enjoy this informative list of ways to winterize your lawn? Was it helpful? These pieces of information are crucial and if you’re serious about maintaining your grass you should really consider them.
Investing the time into your lawn to keep it healthy not only benefits you, but it improves the quality and value of your home.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share! And if you have any lawn winterizing tips of your own, we want to hear them!
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