While it may slow down, lawn care does not take a break during the winter months. In fact, winter is usually the prime time to set your lawn up to look a lush and full beautiful green the next spring.
Here are five ways to care for your lawn during winter:
The warm summer weather has a tendency to deplete grass of its nutrients. To make sure that your grass is healthy and green during spring, it is important to fertilize your lawn when the weather starts cooling down. The ideal time is typically late fall or early winter, but it can depend based on your specific climate and type of grass.
Be sure not to follow the directions on your fertilizer, though! Spreading too much fertilizer on your lawn can actually end up hurting the beautiful lawn you are trying to nourish. At the same time, too little can fail to have an effect. Spreading the fertilizer unevenly can cause a “patchy” lawn when spring comes.
Fall is one of the most popular times to aerate your lawn, and for good reason! Aeration is the process of poking dime-sized holes that go about three or four inches deep all over your lawn. While the practice may sound harmful to your grass, the process actually allows for fertilizer, oxygen, and nutrients to reach deep into the roots. In general, the best time to aerate your lawn is right before you fertilize it. If you do not choose to aerate the lawn at the same time you are fertilizing it then just be sure to do it before the first freeze of the season.
- Spread grass seed.
Late fall or early winter is the best time to spread grass seed. For winter, you should purchase “cool season” grass seed or blends. These types of grass are hardier and easier to maintain during the cold weather months. Most people generally spread grass seed at the same time they fertilize and aerate the lawn, a set of activities that is not only efficient but also works together to produce the best results.
Be sure to spread your fertilizer evenly though, because “cold weather” grass may look different than the “warm weather” varieties and you do not want clumps of grass that look and grow at different paces than the rest of your lawn.
After spreading the grass seed, it is important to water your lawn. Your grass seed will yield the best results if you water immediately after seeding and then several times over the next few days. The best time to water your lawn is during dusk or dawn when the soil and roots are able to take in the most moisture.
- Adjust Your Mowing.
One of the best parts of winter is knowing you do not have to mow the lawn as often. However, that is not the only change you need to make to your mowing routine during the winter. As the cold weather season approaches, its best to gradually lower your mower’s blade so the grass is cut progressively shorter each time.
Long grass can cause a host of problems – from mice and disease to unnecessary damage caused by ice and snow. Be sure not to cut your lawn too close, though. A lawn that has been “scalped” harms grass by exposing the roots to the cold weather.
- Keep your Lawn Clean and Clear of Debris.
While ice and snow may hide the grass for periods of winter, the lawn can still be damaged by cluttered or foot traffic. During the fall, it is important to be diligent and remove all leaves from the lawn, otherwise, even the relatively minimal amount of sunlight in the winter months will not be able to reach your lawn. In addition to blocking the sunlight, the fallen leaves may create “wet spots” in the yard, causing mold or mildew to proliferate and destroy the lawn.
Just like the summer months, the best way to keep your lawn tall and green is to keep as much foot traffic off it as possible. While this obviously means you should not allow cars or trucks to park on your grass, it also applies to foot traffic. The best way to minimize foot traffic is to ensure that your sidewalk is clear and safe to walk on. A well-worn path through your yard will turn into a muddy mess when spring finally shows its face.