With the summer months coming to an end, cooler weather is just around the corner. When your lush green grass of spring and summer fades to the colors of autumn, its time to start preparing for winter. During the winter months, your lawn is dormant, not needing as much attention as it would in the warm months. Homeowners know that the needs of your lawn change with each season, and preparing your lawn to thrive in spring after a cold winter is a priority. There are certain things you need to do to prepare your lawn for those long cold months.
Aeration helps to improve drainage and reduce compaction. This is important for lawns in cold climates, as it helps the soil retain moisture and prevents waterlogging. If the soil is compacted before the snow hits the ground, it can cause plant decay by killing the crown of the plant, which is referred to as winter kill. When you aerate the soil before winter, the water is easily absorbed and doesn’t pool on the surface to freeze the plants.
Fertilizing your lawn is crucial to prepping for the cold winter months. This gives your grass and plants enough nutrients to get through those brutally cold days. By loading up on nutrients in the autumn months, your lawn is able to utilize them, similarly to how bears and other animals load up on food to survive the winter. There are a number of ways you can add that extra boost to fertilizing your lawn, including grasscycling, mulching dried and fallen leaves, and switching to a fertilizer with 10% or more nitrogen.
Mowing is a standard practice for maintaining a lush green neat lawn, but for the winter months, the goal is to mow your grass shorter. When grass is mowed evenly to a height of around 2 inches, it decreases the chances of snow mold buildup. Snow Mold is a fungus that can negatively affect your lawn in the springtime.
By mowing your grass to a shorter-than-normal length, you increase air movement and avoid the threat of excess moisture, which prevents the mold from growing.
Overseeding your lawn may seem counterproductive when grass is about to enter a state of dormancy during the cold months, but it is another crucial step in winter preparation. Overseeding is the process of spreading new grass seeds over and existing lawns. This helps to thicken the lawn and make it more resistant to winter damage.
Watering your lawn deeply in the autumn months helps establish a deep root system, which helps the grass survive the winter months. Your grass still needs nutrients to get through the months it stays dormant.
Raking leaves on your lawn is for more than just aesthetic purposes. Leaves that collect on your lawn can smother the grass and make it more susceptible for winter damage. Instead, consider turning those leaves into mulch to help fertilize your lawn during the winter season.
The cold of winter can be brutal, especially in areas prone to heavy snow and freezing temperatures. By following these tips, you can rest easy knowing that your lawn is equipped to survive and thrive. If you’re unsure about the specific needs of your lawn, you can always consult lawn care professionals like those at Holmes Lawn & Pest for advice and tips to be the best prepared you can be.