It may be tempting to ignore your lawn in the winter after the summer tasks of watering and mowing are done. While most grass goes dormant during the winter and doesn't require much care there are things you can do to in late fall and winter to prepare it for a good winter's sleep. Following these lawn care tips for winters will keep your lawn healthy and ready to thrive in the spring.
How to Care for the Lawn in Winters
Begin your winter lawn care in the fall before the first hard frost with these simple steps.
- Aerate the lawn. This opens up the soil to let water penetrate easily and provides needed air to the roots of the grass. You can rent an aerator to aerate a large lawn or hire a professional to do it for you, but small areas can be done by hand with a gardening fork. To aerate with a garden fork, insert the tines to a depth of 4 inches and rock the tines back and forth. Repeat the procedure every 4 inches over the entire lawn.
- Remove thatch. Sometimes dead grass and weeds build up at the base of the grass making it difficult for your lawn to grow properly. Removing the thatch with a garden rake will improve the health of your lawn. Rake all the old, dead grass out of your lawn with the garden rake. In severe cases, you may wish to rent a dethatcher to get the job done.
- Fertilize the lawn.Once you have aerated and dethatched your lawn it is time to give it the nutrients it needs to thrive. Apply lawn fertilizer over the entire lawn following the application rate on the container.
- Water your lawn. Don't let your lawn dry out completely in the fall. Keep it moist right up until the soil freezes or the grass goes dormant for the winter. This prevents grass from dying out during the fall or winter.
More Lawn Care Tips for Winters
- Mow low before winter arrives. Setting your mower to a lower height for the last mowing or two in the fall will prevent tall grass from remaining all winter. Tall grass leftover from the fall will make it harder for your lawn to revive in the spring.
- Rake your lawn. Remove all dead leaves and other debris that may have fallen on your lawn during the fall. Dead leaves and other organic materials will compact on the lawn during the winter and smother the grass. Check your lawn frequently for leaves that may blow onto it from other areas — like your neighbor's lawn — and keep them raked up to avoid issues with dead or dying grass in the spring.
- Take care of lawn furniture. Lawn furniture, children's toys and other items left out all winter can cause ugly dead spots on your lawn. Make sure your lawn is clean and clear before it goes to bed for the winter.
- Watch out for foot traffic. While it is natural to walk across the lawn when cold weather arrives, when your lawn is frosty or frozen too much foot traffic can cause damage to the lawn. Use walkways and avoid walking on the lawn when possible during the the winter.
- Beware of salt and ice melt. If you remove winter ice from walkways and steps with salt or other ice melt products, beware of getting them directly on the lawn. Many products will kill the grass and leave you with a patchy lawn in the spring. If you must use products for removing ice and snow look for one that is safe for use near lawns.
Now that you know how to care for the lawn in winters you are on your way to a thriving lawn in the spring. By following these lawn care tips for winters you will be the envy of your neighbors and can enjoy a carpet of green next summer. To learn more about caring for your lawn or to speak to one of our professionals about your concerns, contact Idaho Lawn Pros today.