No one wants to face an unhealthy, dying lawn when the weather turns warm again. Prevent that from happening when you follow this lawn care guide to protecting your grass from the cold and snowy conditions of winter. Doing so will give you a healthy and happy lawn come spring.
Raking your lawn of leaves is critical to its health since debris can prevent sunlight from shining on your grass, thus encouraging disease. Before your grass turns dormant for the season, just mow and mulch the leaves into the lawn. After dormancy kicks in, it's time to rake. Place the raked leaves under trees and shrubs to protect their roots during freezing temperatures.
"Winter annual" weeds germinate in the late fall and sprout first thing in the spring. By being proactive and preventing these pesky plants in November, come March, your lawn will be weed-free. Apply a pre-emergent weed killer that is suitable for cold temperatures.
Give your grass some fresh air before it's covered in snow. Aeration punctures small holes in the soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the turf's roots. When this is done, your lawn will grow stronger and healthier and can more easily resist weeds. You can hire a lawn care company to do the work for you or you can easily rent an aerator and do it yourself in about an hour, depending on the size of your lawn. Leave the soil plugs on the surface of the lawn and they will work themselves back into the soil over time.
Overseed struggling areas of the lawn. Time the overseeding for 2-4 weeks before the first hard frost. Do not use herbicides or fertilizers on seeded areas. Another option is to replace struggling areas with perennial groundcovers such as mondo grass, liriope, or juniper. They'll fill any voids, reduce lawn maintenance, and provide year-round interest.
Before your lawn goes dormant for the winter season, it needs to be fed. Applying a slow-release nitrogen/potassium fertilizer that is specially formulated for winter will make your grass grow hardier. Then, water your lawn (only as much as necessary to work in the fertilizer) at the warmest time of day so that it can take full effect.
Since over-seeding and fertilizing will keep your grass growing until the first hard frost, continue to mow your grass as needed.
When it comes to winterizing, don't forget your gear! Otherwise, when you're ready to do some spring outdoor yard work, your tools won't be ready for you.
- Drain the oil from mowers. Don't forget to drop the oil off at a recycling center.
- Funnel extra gasoline into your automobile's fuel tank or pour a fuel stabilizer into the mower's gas tank and run the engine.
- Replace dirty fuel and air filters. Clean the spark plugs.
- Inspect equipment for missing screws, nuts, and caps. Replace them.
- Clean off grime and rust.
- Lubricate hinges and moving parts.
Now that your winter prep work is complete, once the weather turns warm again, you'll be able to more fully enjoy relaxing on your outdoor patio furniture while looking out over your healthy sea of green.