5 Tips to Get Your Lawn Ready for Winter Right Now
Even though your lawn may require less attention in winter than other seasons, here are seven essential maintenance tips to get it ready for this arctic blast.
Fertilize. Cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and fine fescue benefit from being fertilized in autumn in most climates.
Mowing your lawn regularly not only keeps it looking neat and removes unwanted weeds, but it also ensures the grass receives maximum sunlight. Allowing clippings to float on the surface could block light from reaching its roots – creating conditions conducive to snow mold growth that damages cool-season grasses.
Mowing wet grass can damage both the soil and make your lawn more susceptible to fungal lawn diseases, leading to greater chances of frost or freezing temperatures within 48 hours after you mowed any grass. One way of telling whether the ground is wet enough for mowing is walking on it; if your feet sink when walking across wet spots then consider cutting more than one-third of its height at one time.
Winter lawn fertilizer (or “winterizer”) should be applied regularly throughout the winter season to provide grass with enough nutrition. To do so effectively and efficiently.
Winter fertilizers provide nitrogen to grass as it goes dormant for winter, helping it store energy for spring growth. A winterizer also contains phosphorus to fortify roots.
Winterizer application times will depend on where you live; generally speaking, however, they should be applied after the last mow of the season and before consistent temperatures begin to decrease. Be wary not to apply too soon though as too lush a lawn could increase snow mold issues during early spring if applied too early – to find out the correct application date in your region visit an independent home and garden retailer near you.
After a winter of snow removal, kids running through sprinklers, and pets roaming your yard, your lawn could benefit from an aeration session. Aerating breaks up compacted soil, allowing water, oxygen, and nutrients to reach its roots more readily.
Aeration can also help remove excessive thatch, which can hinder rain runoff, harbor fungal diseases and hamper grass growth. Aerating is an ideal time to do just this!
For best results, use a core aerator that extracts plugs of soil (which look similar to large Tootsie Rolls). If this option is unavailable to you, try rocking back and forth a garden fork over your lawn while leaving any leftover plugs behind to decompose and return nutrients back into the soil. Before aerating your lawn for optimal results, water it first in order to soften its surface.
Mulching can provide nutrients back into the soil while decreasing water use. Furthermore, mulching will prevent weed growth while protecting your soil in winter months.
When applying mulch, be sure to spread only a thin layer of leaves – too thick an application could smother your grass, while pulling through thick layers is difficult and in order to ensure full weeding of your garden before spreading mulch, make sure that all weeds have been addressed first.
Overseeding can also be useful in cool climates to prevent spring weed growth from taking hold and taking over.
Dethatching is essential to maintaining the health and beauty of any garden or landscape, as a layer of thatch blocks sunrays from reaching grass roots, restricting their intake. Without removal, thatch may provide shelter to lawn- and garden-eating insects which feed off of it as well as being a fire hazard; so dethatching should be an integral part of maintenance for your yard and landscape.
Many species of shrubs and trees benefit from being pruned during winter while dormant. With no foliage present, it becomes easier to identify diseased or crossing branches, then safely prune them away without harming the plant itself.
Proper pruning will ensure your plants look their best come springtime, while also lowering risk from snow and ice accumulation. Furthermore, trimming can prevent snow mats from forming around long-stemmed perennials and evergreens.