Proper lawn care is an imperative for homeowners intent on keeping their property beautiful and maintaining the value of their home. While many homeowners take special care to keep their lawns healthy in the warm seasons, many also tend to neglect their lawns once winter comes. Taking care of your lawn in the winter may not be as immediately pressing as in the summer, but it should not be ignored simply because the weather has turned colder. In fact, proper winter lawn care can help save you time and money when warm weather returns, and takes less time and energy than in the warm seasons. Today we will provide some simple winter lawn maintenance tips to help keep your grass healthy and beautiful!
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Know Your Lawn
First, you should understand what types of grass are on your lawn so you can learn how to properly care for it. Warm-season grasses do best when they are fertilized during their growth season in the spring, while cool-season grasses do best when they are fertilized during their growth season in the fall. Keeping your lawn properly cared for during the warmer seasons is crucial for keeping your grass alive in the winter and ready to thrive once spring arrives.
Aerate Your Lawn
Once fall descends, your cool-season grass will begin to expand its roots to store nutrients for the winter. But soil compaction and excess thatch build-up can stifle root growth and leave your lawn less prepared for winter. Using a manual or powered aerator, you can create small holes in your lawn that will encourage root growth by reducing soil compaction, removing excess thatch, and promoting air circulation, water penetration, and proper drainage. If you have a small lawn, you can use a pitchfork to aerate your soil by simply pushing the spikes straight into the ground.
Fertilize Your Lawn
Once you have aerated your lawn, consider fertilizing it while you have the time and if your lawn needs it. Your grass tends to store nutrients in the winter to boost its growth once spring arrives, so fertilizing at the start of winter is a useful way of ensuring your lawn’s vitality in the warm season. Look for a fertilizer blend designed for the winter and for either warm-season or cool-season grass depending on what you have on your lawn.
If you have a lawn with warm-season grass and wish to keep a healthy green lawn during the winter, consider overseeding your property with cool-season grass seeds during the fall. In addition to providing color to your lawn, overseeding before winter arrives can help prevent bare patches from forming that you will have to take care of in the spring.
Keep Your Lawn Properly Mowed
Mowing your lawn seems unnecessary once winter comes around, but make sure your lawn is cut to a proper length during the cold seasons. Uncut grass tends to encourage snow mold growth and can attract rodents, so make sure to keep your grass cut to a proper length, around 1.5 to 2.5 inches. Avoid cutting your grass too short since bare patches can arise.
Keep Your Lawn Properly Cleaned
Make sure that your lawn is free from leaves and other debris. While many think that a covering of leaves can protect their grass from the effects of the cold, nothing could be further from the truth. Leaves tend to reduce access to sunlight, encourage damaging moisture collection, promote fungus growth and disease, and encourage pest infestations. Simply take a rake periodically and remove any leaves or debris you find over the winter or use a mulcher to return nutrients to the soil.
Weed Your Lawn in the Winter
Weeds will continue to grow on your property during mild winter days, so be sure to get rid of any weeds you see during the fall and apply herbicide to any problem areas you might have. You can also use a pre-emergent herbicide during the winter to hopefully stifle the growth of weeds and reduce their appearance once spring finally comes.
If You Need To, Water Your Lawn
While winter is often wet enough, sometimes your grass may fall victim to cold, dry, windy conditions that tend to dehydrate your soil. If your winter season ends up drier than usual, water your lawn on a warm winter day to ensure proper hydration.
Finally, Stay Off Your Grass
As your grass begins to go dormant for the winter, try to avoid walking on your lawn as much as possible. The more you trample your grass blades, the less capable they are growing once the warm season returns.
Find What You Need at Grayco
Grayco Hardware & Home Center has everything you need to care for your lawn year-round. Stop by and see us today!