Winter can often be an unpredictable time of year. The harsh weather this season brings can often put your lawn through some extreme and damaging conditions. Although your winter lawn care regimen may not be as long or as involved as it is in the summer season, it is still just as important in helping to maintain a lush, healthy yard year round. What can you do during these cold months to make sure your lawn stays in tiptop shape? Check out these 7 tips for a healthy winter lawn.
- Mow In The Fall. Winter lawn care doesn’t just start when winter does. Preparing in the Fall is critical. As the weather cools, continue to mow your yard until the grass stops growing. Gradually lower the height of your mower for the last few turns of the season. Be careful not to cut the grass too short. The shorter grass allows your lawn to winter well without shocking it by cutting it all off at one time. Shorter grass also protects any fragile new growth that may occur at the end of the season. If you leave your grass too long over winter, it invites mice and other burrowing animals to nest during these colder months which can lead to dead spots in your yard come spring.
- Aerate Your Yard. Aerate your yard to prevent soil compaction. The small holes you create allow air, water, and vital nutrients to penetrate down to the roots of the grass. This allows the roots to grow deeper and become more resilient. Use a spade to take out spikes of soil across our lawn. If you yard is too large, you can rent a manual or a motorized aerator.
- Fertilize Your Yard. Many people don’t think about fertilizing in the winter but this allows your lawn to thrive year round. Apply fertilizer with a spreader and make sure to follow the instructions on the package. Apply only the recommended amount of fertilizer because applying too much can burn your lawn.
- Overseed Your Yard. In most parts of the country, lawn grass goes dormant in the winter. In many places, especially in the south, cool-weather seed is overseeded into the lawn to maintain a green lawn year-round. Make sure the seed you purchase says “cool weather” or “cool season” on the package. You can use the same spreader to apply this seed as you did to apply your fertilizer. Try to spread the seed evenly so you don’t get clumps of grass in the spring.
- Remove The Weeds. Getting rid of weeds is an important part of winter lawn care. You can spot treat weeds with an herbicide that only kills weeds and not your grass. Weeds are easier to spot in the winter because grass loses its green color this time of year but cool weather weeds do not. If you have too many weeds to spot treat, you can mow your lawn a few times during the winter. Most winter weeds can’t survive repeated mowing and will die off. Make sure to use your bag attachment to catch any seeds from the weeds to avoid recurrence. If weeds are a problem for you in the winter, set yourself a reminder to apply an herbicide in the fall to prevent their growth the following year.
- Rake The Leaves. Make sure to rake up any leaves you didn’t get to in the fall. If there is snow on the ground, wait for it to thaw before you rake. Also make sure to rake gently especially if the soil is moist as rakes can easily pull up your grass. Leaves left on the ground over winter can cause mold which can severely damage your lawn.
- Clean It Up. Try not to leave any debris, toys, leaves, or even lawn furniture on the lawn during winter. Any of these things can smother your grass and invite insects, mice, and other pests to invade. Try to stay off of frozen lawns as much as possible. Repeated walking, driving, or parking on your grass can kill the grass, leaving bare spots in the spring. Make sure to keep your sidewalks and driveways clear so people won’t be tempted to cut across your lawn.