Fall is in full force, and before we know it, winter will be taking over our yards. If you have a warm-season grass, then you’re likely accustomed to letting the luscious blades go dormant for the season, relishing in the time off of the yard work. Don’t relax too soon, though, because depending on how you treat your lawn during the Winter, you can really help determine what kind of lawn you will have come Spring. Here are some easy tips to help keep your lawn thriving and vibrant for the next warm year.
One of the easiest ways to start your spring care this fall is by fertilizing before the first frost. This gives the roots a chance to expand even further before going dormant for the winter. Many recommend looking for phosphorus rich fertilizer (10% to 15% levels), as it helps aid cell division (new growth for the plant) and also energy transformation. Not a science buff? Then know that these actions are crucial to growth, but also to the hardiness that will help your grass withstand the winter months.
All of this fertilization will be next to useless if your lawn isn’t properly aerated. Aeration allows oxygen, water and nutrients to sink further into the soil, thus treating the roots more directly. There are many different tools available to help you aerate your lawn, with prices spanning from $20 to $150 for professional aeration. This process can be as simple as gently taking a pitchfork to the lawn once a year, or renting an aeration machine—which looks much like a lawn mower. Then, evenly aerate the grass up to twice a year, depending on how much traffic your lawn gets. If you need help or don’t feel up to aerating your lawn, just give us a call.
Fall is the best time to seed your lawn because roots grow more ambitiously during the fall and the winter. When selecting your seed, it is recommended to purchase good quality seeds that can withstand the freezing temperatures, as cheaper seeds will often die once the first frost hits. Rye grass seed is a great choice- it will give a nice green look thru winter and dies off in spring. Beware that Rye grass seeds do contain some weeds, so you will need to take care of those few weeds in the spring. Lay your seed and then water everyday for 10-20 days until it germinates.
As mentioned above nitrogen is an integral part of the growth process and is derived from the dead compost of other plants. If your lawn is full of leaves then you have free nitrogen ready and available! Simply run your lawn mower over it to chop up the leaves and let them do their work with your grass, sending fresh, natural sources of Nitrogen directly to the grass below.
As the end of summer approaches start gradually lowering your cutting base on your lawn mower (to the recommended cutting base for your grass) so that by the time the first frost comes your grass is short. The main benefit of this is to prevent rodents from nestling into the warm grass during the cold months and consequently ruining the roots by digging into them.
Keeping your lawn clean does more than make it aesthetically pleasing: it also keeps your grass alive. Be sure to keep toys, logs, fallen branches and whatnot off the grass so that the grass so that the grass can breathe and continue to receive oxygen, sun, and nutrients all winter long. Be sure to rake up fallen leaves so it does not smother your grass.
Though the grass is brown, it is not dead, so try your best to keep traffic to a minimum. Walking on the lawn, and even worse, parking cars or other machines on the lawn, can damage the dormant grass and prevent important growth during this time.
With these simple steps you are sure to have a healthy, beautiful lawn come springtime. Most important to remember is to begin the process long before fall is over, and before the first frost. Get started now and then relax this winter knowing that your lawn is working hard, for you, all winter long.
If you need any help, contact us, we’d love to help you with your landscaping needs.
Filed in: Lawn Care