The last leaves are falling. There is a chill in the air- you have reached the end of lawn care season. After months of dedicated watering, weeding, fertilizing, mowing, and lovingly maintaining your lush green yard, have you ever felt there must be more to do when those busy warm months are over?
It seems counter-productive to give hundreds of hours to protecting your grass only to ignore it for the winter months. Even those with the greenest of thumbs have wondered, “What should I do to my lawn in the winter?”
There are all types of questions when it involves winter lawn care. Many people have winter grass care questions, from “Does grass grow in the winter?” to “What makes my grass turn yellow?” These simple questions can grow into major concerns regarding protecting the health and integrity of your lawn.
The answer is yes- but very slowly. A good rule of thumb is, if you live in a place like Minnesota where winter temps are consistently below freezing, your winter grass has gone dormant and is hoping you put good effort into preparing it to survive the colder months.
Proper winter lawn maintenance and a little bit of autumnal preparation can go a long way.
Similar to the change of color in the leaves on our trees, grass can change color based on temperature as well. Certain types of grass will turn yellow or brown in winter because the grass has gone to sleep or gone dormant.
Yellow grass can also be a sign something is wrong. After years of salt and other de-icing chemicals being dumped onto your winter grass, it can turn yellow and require even more work to nurse back to health.
There are many methods to prevent and fix yellow grass, all of which is a professional winter lawn care service can take on efficiently and correctly.
Wintertime brings to mind a lot of hibernation, and many people tend to think if their snow grass isn’t growing, there is no winter lawn care needed. That kind of thinking might lead to a less impressive lawn come the Spring thaw.
You can protect your lawn in the winter by following a few simple steps. First, avoid spreading salt and other de-icing chemicals onto your lawn when shoveling or removing snow. Shovel or plow the driveway snow away from your lawn to avoid harmful chemicals seeping into the soil.
Consider mulch or other barriers if your lawn is close to city-maintained roads or sidewalks. Runoff of the harmful chemicals can be unavoidable. Getting creative landscaping can help protect your lawn against damage.
Next, avoid pack-down. Creating a path in the snow over your winter grass by repeatedly walking over the same lawn area may be an easy shortcut, but it can cause future problems. Expect bare patches if you store heavy equipment on packed down snow on your winter grass or use your lawn as extra parking during the winter.
The need to water your winter grass depends on where you live. Assuming you live in a cold weather state like Minnesota, the rain and snow will provide plenty of water to keep your winter grass quenched throughout the colder months.
There are a few winter lawn maintenance tips to help ensure your grass is getting the most of Mother Nature’s watering with little effort on your part. You can prepare for the cold weather months by keeping an eye on grass length as the winter nears.
Another good preparation for the cold is mulching fallen leaves to redistribute important nutrients. A wet layer of fallen leaves can be suffocating to the grass beneath. Be sure to rake instead of mulch when the leaf coverage exceeds ¼ inch thickness. Otherwise, you might risk limiting the best access your winter grass has to natural moisture.
Aerate your grass before the first lasting frost or big snowfall. This will provide your snow grass and its roots with much-needed nutrients and oxygen before the winter arrives. Make sure to sprinkle a winter fertilizer after you’ve helped the soil open up.
Winter lawn fertilizer is essential for keeping your lawn healthy while it slumbers under the cover of snow. If you live in a cold winter climate, you should focus on fertilizing your lawn in the fall, when the temperatures are dropping, but the grass is still growing.
If you wait until the soil is frozen, using a winter lawn fertilizer will be pointless because most of the fertilizer will be washed away instead of absorbed. Instead, to set your winter grass into motion to be healthy spring grass, keep an eye on weather trends and fertilize before major frost. After using winter lawn fertilizer, give your lawn a light watering to ensure the fertilizer is washed clean from the blades of grass and onto the soil.
This helps roots grow strong and healthy and can even help your winter grass maintain its green color!
Dormant winter grass requires very little watering, which makes it easy to give that chore to Mother Nature. Blankets of snow, frost and even dew provide plenty of moisture to the sleepy winter grass.
Harmful winter winds bring breakage and debris to your winter lawn, and snow can provide shelter to keep the necessary moisture near the soil intact. Don’t forget to clear the major debris after storms! Logs, branches, and other heavy items shouldn’t be left on the winter grass unless you’d like some new insects and weeds come springtime.
Practicing winter lawn care isn’t just to get you the lushest, greenest lawn come spring. Proper maintenance and winter preparation can save your winter grass’ life. Snow mold is one of many fungal infections that can lead to the ultimate demise of even the healthiest grass.
Over time, regular trampling of the same area can lead to breakage and even root damage. Use sidewalks for regular to and from during the winter months, and be sure to spread out and play in the snow on all areas of the lawn.
This saying isn’t quite as catchy as April Showers Bring May Flowers, but it’s a very similar concept. Consider hiring a professional winter lawn care service to protect your winter grass and grow your best lawn in just a matter of months.
Take the guesswork out of weather watching, temperature checking, and grass identifying by hiring a professional lawn care service. Even the most well-intentioned gardeners and lawn-enthusiasts have over watered or fertilized too early or too late in the season, wasting time, effort, money and losing out on the chance to protect your lawn in the winter.
Especially in a climate like Minnesota, where watering grass in winter is furthest from your mind because of the freezing temps, winter grass care often means more than just throwing some winter lawn fertilizer down when it starts to get chilly.
Protect your lawn in the winter by hiring a winter lawn service. They will prepare your lawn for the harsh months ahead and set you up for success by using these and other techniques to take advantage of the hibernation time of winter to slowly and successfully maintain and nourish your winter grass to its best potential.
When the snow finally thaws, and your winter grass isn’t a disappointing shock of bare, broken yellow winter grass but a satisfying lush green spread of grass, you won’t regret leaving the winter lawn maintenance to the pros.
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