Winter is coming! Learn how you can get your lawn ready in six easy steps.
As days get shorter and temperatures drop, many homeowners overlook their lawns’ needs.
Winter can be brutal and make it hard for lawns, trees and shrubs to thrive the following spring.
Just like chapped lips and dry skin, plants struggle to find moisture in the winter, too. Symptoms include scorched and dropped leaves, mottling on leaves and even dead leaves and twigs. Dry or frozen soil can prevent plants from replenishing needed water, which can result in winter burn. In addition, when temperatures drop below a plant’s natural tolerance, it can impact their health and vigor and cause them to decline prematurely.
“Many homeowners don’t realize that late fall is a good time to help prepare your lawn and landscape for a healthy spring growth,” said Ben Hamza, director of technical services for TruGreen.
“Homeowners should remember to perform common maintenance practices on their lawns and landscapes such as late fall fertilization on lawns and trees and shrubs, and continue to water correctly during dry periods. Taking the extra time in the fall will pay dividends in the early spring.”
Keeping up with your lawn mower maintenance at the end of the season is also important to ensure it’s ready to go next spring.
To help prepare your lawn for the winter months, perform the following practices:
1. Mow against snow mold
Keep lawns trimmed until growth ceases. This can help prevent snow mold, which mostly occurs in northern states due to extended wet snow cover and matted turf. Tall or improperly mowed grass is most at risk of developing snow mold.
2. Clear leaves
It’s important to remove leaves or mulch them with a properly equipped mower as they can suffocate grass. Matted leaves left over lawn through the winter months can delay spring green-up. After clearing leaves, homeowners can compost what was collected to nourish plants and shrubs, reducing the impact on the landfill.
3. Replace unhealthy patches
Fall’s favorable weather conditions, as well as moist and warm soil temperatures, create the ideal opportunity for successful seeding of bare lawn areas and overseeding of healthy grass to improve your lawn thickness and density.
Trees and shrubs are also vulnerable to winter weather and should be properly groomed and fertilized to avoid winter injury.
5. Give a good fall feeding
The roots of lawns, trees and shrubs need energy to prepare for a healthy, green spring revival. Keep fertilizer on target to prevent run-off and sweep fertilizer granules that may reach pavement back onto your lawn.
6. Give sprinklers a break
In most parts of the country, failing to winterize your sprinkler system can result in major problems, ranging from cracked pipes and broken valves to damage to the lawn itself. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual to safely put your system to rest. Be sure to blow out underground systems to eliminate any remaining water that may freeze and expand.