During the winter season, there really isn’t much to mow or to weed out since most of the plants become dormant throughout the cold period. However, this should not justify a complete abandonment of your property. In order for the lawn to be evergreen as soon as spring arrives, you should know how to conduct lawn care in winter. With the right winter maintenance, all of your plants should survive the unforgiving weather.
First of all, you need to know why your lawn needs sufficient protection for the incoming winter season. You see, many lawn owners have warm-season grasses planted in their properties. On sunny days, these types of grasses will thrive. In contrast, these grass varieties will have a significantly slow growth once the cold weather comes in.
Now with the reduced pace of growth, these warm-weather grasses can suffer discoloration. Aside from this, they will have a difficult time in terms of plant repair and regrowth. As your plants receive more shade, cooler soil temperatures, and a decrease in sunlight, they will be quite vulnerable to the harsh elements.
To limit grassland damage after a snowfall, you can purchase a one-stage or two-stage snow blower and store it in your shed before winter arrives. After only 3 days, the bottom layer of snow will gradually transform into ice, damaging the roots of the grass. Using a snow blower regularly is the best way to keep the grass surface well-ventilated and to take advantage of the sunlight.
One common misconception is that winter lawn care should begin only when the season actually arrives. In truth, preparing your lawn for this period should start earlier than that. As soon as the first frost makes it way to your area or it’s the final phase of the summer season, the blade height of your lawn mower should be lowered.
However, lowering the blade height should be done in a gradual manner with each succeeding mowing operation. This will prevent plants from experiencing shock. Since the grass blades will have a reduced height, rodents and other pests won’t be able to use them as a cover and as a nesting area during winter. Likewise, rodents won’t be able to dig up huge portions of grass or even develop dead spots around your lawn.
Another lawn care practice to be conducted is pruning. During the autumn season, you should begin to sufficiently prune both trees and bushes in your lawn. They should not be overgrown during winter. Otherwise, they will have too much shade and have dried sections that might not recover once the cold season ends.
Aside from lowering the mowing height and pruning the bushes and trees, you must also aerate your lawn before the first frost arrives. This prevents your soil from easily undergoing compaction in the winter. Additionally, you should apply fertilizer during this period. This is an important step because this will keep your grass properly fed with nutrients all throughout winter.
With the decreased growth rate and overall plant activity, the applied fertilizer will stay longer around the grass blades as they go down deeper toward the roots with each passing inch of snow above. The nutrients coming from this fertilizer application should compensate for the nutrient loss during the hot summer season. One important thing to remember is to aerate and fertilize your lawn in a crisscross pattern so the green grass won’t appear in straight lines next season.
If you have cool-season grass varieties, it is best to fertilize them either during early winter or just before the fall season ends. A good portion of lawns in North America has Bermuda grass and bluegrass, which are both cool-season grasses. If you have those grasses, be sure to fertilize at the appropriate time.
Once the winter season sets in, broadleaf weeds will spread more easily compared to other weed varieties. What’s worse is that your lawn will have a lowered resistance to these broadleaf weeds due to the cold weather. Thus, prevention is much better than cure in this situation. Even before winter arrives, make sure that you’ve dug out or killed these weeds.
There are other ways for you to keep your lawn healthy throughout winter. For one, you can regularly remove all of the fallen leaves and branches by using a lawn sweeper, among other forms of debris, in your lawn. Aside from this, even things such as children’s toys and pieces of furniture should be kept away from your lawn. Remember that your lawn is at its most vulnerable during this period. The continued pressure from the weight of these objects can either kill your grass or severely impede its growth in the long run.
Another good step to take is to prevent people from stepping on the grass. There’s a misconception that just because the grass is brown and fairly short, it’s good enough for being stepped on. While it has a considerable degree of resilience, it won’t survive the constant pressure. In case you aren’t always around to watch over people in your property, you can regularly remove both snow and ice. This gives people fewer reasons to walk over your lawn.
If you have a car, don’t ever park it on the grass. Don’t even allow friends or relatives to park their vehicles in your lawn regardless of the size. This is a quick way to kill your grass, especially those buried underneath the heavy tires. Once these good grasses are gone, weeds such as broadleaf weed and crabgrass weed can quickly take over. Consequently, you must resist using salt on your lawn as much as possible. If you do have to use it, get a mixture containing calcium chloride since this mixture is less dangerous for your grasses than a sodium chloride-based product.
We also recently learned that you can use home weather stations to track the temperature and rainfall more precisely so you can make better decisions about how to approach your lawn. A side benefit is noting the correlation between temperature and grass growth and or the correlation between rainfall and grass growth.
Lastly, you must regularly take a look at weather reports and forecasts. Your turf can tolerate extremely cold weather for a given time, but it will need assistance if the harsh winter levels persist. If the news indicates an incoming storm, make sure that you remove as much ice as you can whenever possible.
In conclusion, taking care of your lawn to prepare for the winter season begins early. Whether you have warm-season or cold-season grass varieties, your property will be much better off if you conduct aeration, tree and bush pruning, fertilizer applications, weed removal, and appropriate mowing operations.
Furthermore, you have to be aware of what goes on in your lawn during winter. People should not be allowed to step into your lawn, and vehicles should not be parked there at any cost. The lawn must not be exposed to significant amounts of salt, and debris should be removed as soon as possible to reduce pressure on the grass.
If you follow all of these tips, your grass should receive ample nutrients throughout the winter season. Once the cold weather goes away, your lawn should have healthy, green grass having an optimum growth rate.
We hope that this guide helped you prepare for the winter. If you have any queries, do give us a comment.