The weather during the winter season can be harsh and unpredictable, exposing your lawn to extreme conditions. In most parts of the country, lawn grass goes dormant in the winter. While your lawn may not require quite as much work during these colder months, it shouldn’t be ignored completely. A good winter lawn care plan can help ensure your grass is lush and green come spring. Check out these winter lawn care steps to make sure your lawn is healthy this spring.
1. Plan Ahead
Preparation is key to maintaining a healthy lawn not only in winter, but year-round. Have your winter lawn care plan in place early so that you can keep an eye on the weather forecast and have enough time to put your plan into action before the first frost hits.
In the south, cool season grass is often used to overseed lawns to ensure green grass throughout the winter months. Sprinkle cool season seed over your lawn using a spreader, making sure to apply evenly to avoid clumps later. Drag a rake over your lawn to break up any clumps of soil and to help cover the seeds and then water with a garden hose. Afterwards, make sure to keep your soil moist and don’t let it dry out.
Just before the first frost is the best time for lawn aeration. This gives the turf time to breathe before the grass goes dormant. This also helps to relieve any compaction that may have built up during the spring and summer months. For small yards you can use a spade to take out spikes of soil to make holes. For larger yards you can use a manual or motorized aerator.
The best time to fertilize your yard is right after you aerate it. This allows the grass to receive the vital nutrients it needs to get ready for winter. The grass roots then absorb and store these nutrients during the winter months. When spring rolls around, these stored nutrients are used to kick start growth. Fertilizer can be applied with the same spreader you use for overseeding. Make sure to only apply the recommended amount as too much fertilizer can burn your grass. After fertilizing, water the lawn lightly to wash the fertilizer off the grass blades and onto the soil.
5. Clean and Store
Leaves can often pile up during the fall but this can be detrimental to the health of your lawn. An overabundance of leaves can cause the lawn to suffocate before winter dormancy sets in. The leaves can also become too wet, leading to disease of the grass. If the leaves aren’t too thick or wet, they can be mulched with a mower to recycle their nutrients back into the soil. If the leaves are thick, wet, or matted, rake them up and remove them promptly. Also make sure to remove any lawn furniture, debris, toys, or spare logs from your yard as these can smother the grass, lead to disease, or even invite pests into your yard.
6. Avoid Lawn Traffic
When the grass is covered with frost or has gone dormant for the year, try to avoid walking too much on the lawn. Grass can become weak if the same path is walked over too many times. Consider installing pavers or walkways that can be used to traverse the lawn instead of walking directly on the grass.
Preparing your lawn for winter can be tedious and time consuming. If the idea of doing all this preparation seems daunting, contact a professional lawn care company who can provide you with a free lawn care analysis and set you up with a comprehensive lawn care plan to ensure your yard stays lush and green through every season of the year.