Winter always seems to arrive sooner than expected each year. For many lawn lovers, doing everything they can to protect their lawn is vital. People consider winter the dormant season for the grass, but that does not mean that you should go dormant and neglect your lawn. Cold winters can wreak havoc to your yard if proper measures are not taken. The care you give to your lawn during winter will determine how beautiful the grass will become in spring. There are things that you should do to keep your lawn in great condition.
If you do not live in a region that has warm weather all year round, you are likely to have stored the lawnmower away by now. Chances are that like most people, you do not think much about your lawn during winter. The truth is that even if you live in a region that experiences plenty of snow or ice storms, proper lawn maintenance is vital. Keeping up with seasonal lawn care right through the cold season will help to ensure that you have a green and lush lawn in the spring. The following are some tips that will keep your yard in the best possible condition.
As we go further into fall, you should begin to lower your lawn mower’s cutting base each time you use it. Gradually mowing your grass shorter will prepare it adequately for winter. This is more effective than cutting it short all at once when winter begins. A lawn that is too tall is more likely to attract field mice and other animals looking for shelter. The pests often build nests, creating dead spots that destroy the lawn. It is important to ensure that the grass is short at the end of the season. Shorter grass will also help to protect any new, fragile growth.
Fertilizing the Lawn
The best time to fertilize your lawn is early winter or late fall. Apply the fertilizer before the initial freeze. This will help to replace nutrients lost during the summer months. Use a spreader to apply the fertilizer and be careful to avoid applying too much. Use the recommended amount of fertilizer and ensure that you follow the instructions. When winter kicks in, the good fertilizer in the soil will continue to feed the roots of the grass throughout the cold season.
During winter, your lawn does not need as much water as it did during the summer months. This means that you should make sure that your sprinkler system is recalibrated. It is easy to over-water a lawn that is not soaking up much water during winter. Talk to a lawn care expert to find out the right winter sprinkling schedule for your lawn. It is important to keep the soil moist during the season. FYI, experts tend to recommend maintaining a lawn watering schedule every week even during winter.
Clearing the Lawn
It is extremely important to keep the lawn clean and clear of all debris. Do not leave anything on the lawn that can suffocate or smother the grass. Organic debris such as fallen branches, logs, and wet leaves can cause bacteria and lawn disease. The debris can also attract insects and other lawn damaging pests. Clearing the debris will allow the lawn to breathe. It also ensures that it soaks up the vital nutrients that it can get from any sun that it receives. It is a good idea to remove lawn furniture and other outdoor structures to leave the yard clear.
Avoid Heavy Traffic
Do not allow heavy traffic on the grass during winter. Turfgrass is strong and resilient during the summer, but it becomes weak and brittle when it is dormant. During winter when the grass is dormant, all the energy and nutrients are redirected to the root system. This means that the grass is not as springy or tough. Avoid heavy traffic on the lawn especially during the morning period when the grass is covered by frost. Tread lightly on the grass and remember that lawn damage is most likely to occur in the morning when the grass is frozen.
It is essential to take care of your lawn during winter as this will help to keep it alive and healthy in the future. Winter can be very unpredictable, and your lawn can go through some severe or extreme conditions during the season. Following the lawn care tips will allow you to enjoy the winter months knowing that your lawn will survive the harsh weather. Effective winter lawn care will keep the grass strong, allowing it to resist pests and weeds.
By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers
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