Many people think when the cold weather hits, it signals the end of outdoor chores. However, even though many lawns will go dormant for the season, there are still things a homeowner needs to do before and during the winter months to ensure a healthy lawn come springtime.
The key to having a great looking lawn in the spring is to begin lawn care in the fall, and a little work in combination with the professionals at Fischer Environmental will go a long way.
Cut Back on Watering
As the weather starts changing, a homeowner should begin watering the lawn less. As temperatures drop, there will be less sunshine to evaporate the water, which means less is more.
Fertilizing a lawn during the fall is important, because grass will use the time to start storing nutrients to sustain it through the winter and to start growing again in the spring. It is recommended to use a nitrogen-based fertilizer to yield the best results.
Cut Grass Shorter
When mowing the grass in the fall, a homeowner should start to cut it shorter. By the time winter arrives, grass will be relatively short and healthier.
Long grass provides hiding places for animals and welcomes mold and fungus. Besides lengthening the time in between cuts, shorter grass also allows for a more even base for new grass growth in the spring.
Winter Lawn Care
The type of lawn care a homeowner will have to do in the winter will depend on the type of grass. Some grasses go completely dormant during the winter while others don’t, so the ones that don’t will require water on warmer and drier days. No matter what kind of grass a homeowner has, it should be kept clean and free of debris in the winter.
Any object on top of the grass will act as a means of nesting for pests to take up residence, so it’s important for a homeowner to rake away any dead plants and to throw away trash.
In our area snow is not usually an issue but since this winter has been forecast to be colder than normal, it may be in your lawn’s future. Snow can be a precursor for mold, so it is important to distribute any large piles evenly to help it melt faster.
Apply a Pre-Emergent
While pulling and fighting weeds is mostly a spring and summer time job, weed prevention is best performed in winter. A healthy, beautiful lawn is a homeowner’s best defense against weeds.
During late winter or early spring is the best time to use a pre-emergent, which works by preventing weed germination later in the spring.
Because pre-emergent solutions can contain many toxic chemicals, most homeowners do well to leave this task up to the professionals, rather than risking groundwater contamination or possible damage to wildlife.
Dethatching the Lawn for the Winter
Having a thin layer of thatch is good for lawns. However, anything beyond a half inch thick is not beneficial and it can wind up causing minimized airflow between the soil and top of the grass.
A thick layer of thatch could cause mold and fungus problems. Aerating the lawn in the fall is the best way to control thatch and make your lawn grow healthier in the spring.
Winter Grass Precautions
It may not be difficult to remember to stay off the lawn during the coldest days of winter, but it is important to avoid heavy traffic even in the early days of spring; especially when grass is covered in ice as the weight can crush grass blades. Additionally, as grass thaws out in the springtime, the new growth can be extremely delicate.
Excessive traffic on the lawn during the winter and spring can be very damaging, so it is important to keep sidewalks or pathways clear and to maybe rope off areas of the yard that are extra vulnerable.
Taking care of the lawn in the winter requires just a little extra forethought and planning in the fall. Your grass should not be left to its own devices when it gets cold outside, because it can result in a sparse, sickly looking lawn in the spring. Let Fischer Environmental help you prepare now for your best springtime yard.