Winter Lawn Care Tips
As the temperature drops, lawn care turns from encouraging growth into preservation—and it is a vitally important period for the long term health of your lawn. Mismanagement of the winter season can set your lawn back months come spring, and will only cost you more in the long run. That’s why we are here to try and help you and your lawn thrive through the winter.
How to Prepare your Lawn for Winter
As with any big task, the more you can do to prepare ahead of time, the less work you will have to put in in the long run. And this is especially true with making sure your lawn is protected through the winter. Here are some of the things you should do to prepare your lawn.
Clear your Lawn
One of the easiest things to do when beginning your lawn prep is to make sure it is cleared off properly. Whilst leaf coverings can provide some advantage in decaying and helping to compost the grass, that effect is much more profound in the growth phases next spring. If your lawn has a heavy leaf or debris coating, it can prevent the grass from getting access to what little sunlight is available, making it harder for your lawn to get the nutrients it needs to survive.
What’s more, leaf and debris covering your lawn can invite a whole host of other issues. A leaf blanket is an moisture trap, which makes it a breeding ground for all kinds of mold and other fungal issues, which can cause a great amount of damage to your grass. So make sure you keep your grass clear—ideally, clearing the leaves regularly throughout the winter, but if not, at least clear whenever you see more leaves than grass.
Rather than keeping your lawn at its usual height, your grass will thank you if you take it an inch or two lower than usual. This provides multiple benefits to the health of your grass, including:
- Limited moisture accumulation: As with clearing the lawn, shorter grass means that less moisture can gather, limiting any mold or fungal growth.
- Inhibit rodent infestation: Lower grass makes it less attractive to various rodent life, particularly voles, which can cause a lot of grass damage.
- Firmer stems: The shorter height leaves the grass stronger and better able to withstand the winter.
Aeration and Overseeding
A key part of any lawn care regimen, aeration and overseeding can also help your lawn survive the winter. Aerating your lawn will help to winterize your lawn and also allow for stronger root growth. This will help to provide the lawn with a good foundation to survive foot traffic during the winter. Post-aeration overseeding is a great way to thicken your lawn and give it the best chance of remaining healthy throughout the winter.
Winter fertilization is a key aspect of giving your grass as much growth as possible through the winter. Fertilizing before the ground freezes gives that extra nutrient boost to your plant, allowing any new seed to set roots and prepare for strong growth come the spring. For your fertilizer, you should be looking at a mostly fast-release nitrogen base with some potassium, giving your lawn the best combination of necessary nutrients. Using a winterizer will help your lawn retain the nutrients that it receives and use it throughout the winter when natural nutrients are in shorter supply.
Remember those leaves that we removed? If saved they can be of great help. Anything which can be used to form an organic compost will be of great help in keeping your lawn insulated throughout the winter, and again helping to provide nutrients. A strong natural compost will include some of the following:
- Plant trimmings
- Grass clippings
- Fruits and vegetables
When composting, make sure to stay away from anything inorganic or anything which may have encountered pesticides to help keep your grass safe.
Obviously as the grass is not in a strictly growth stage, your irrigation regime should change to accommodate. Depending on the species of grass, the water needs will vary, but as a general rule, you should lessen the amount of water that your grass gets. As always, pay particular attention to any natural rainfall so that you don’t overwater.
Weeds are a continuous concern throughout the year, but it is especially important that you deal with as much of your weed growth as possible before the winter sets in.
- Any weed growth will sap the nutrients available to your grass, limiting growth.
- Additionally, any weeds that are left in the lawn over the winter will come back twice as bad in the summer having been given time to set down strong roots.
Winter Lawn Maintenance
Preparing your lawn is key, but it certainly isn’t a set and forget situation. To give your lawn the best chance, there are a couple of key things you can do to help.
Avoid Salt Damage
Salt is a key part of any winter protection regime, but for your lawn specifically, it can cause many issues. Keeping salt application solely to the necessary areas will bring many benefits to your lawn. Learn more about how to protect your landscape from salt damage this winter.
Before benching all of your lawn equipment for the season, it is the perfect time to make sure that everything will be ready for you come the summer. Clean and sharpen any bladed tools to make sure that no rust can develop and the blades are healthy come spring. Disconnect all your water hoses to prevent any potential freeze damage and store it all safely somewhere with limited moisture.
Minimize Soil Compaction
If you want your lawn to look its best in the summer, then one of the easiest things that you can do to help is to limit foot traffic. Heavy footfall on the lawn not only risks damaging the grass itself, but will contribute to lawn compaction. The more compact your lawn, the more difficult it is for oxygen and other required nutrients to get into your grass roots.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you get your lawn through the winter whether you have freezing temperatures or are lucky enough to enjoy a temperate time. To get more insights from the professionals, call Blades of Green today!
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