Knowledge from Olle Garden Bed: 7 Steps to Winterize a Lawn
Lawns and grassy areas are one of the most important tools in your garden. Without them, your garden can look extremely boring. So, if you have a well-kept lawn, it will complement your beautiful array of flowers, trees, and other plants you have around it. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.
The first step to creating a perfect lawn is by taking a long-term outlook on the care of your grass. It's true that there are many different types of grass, but the common denominator is that all will experience its fair share of stress during winter. So it's important to prepare your lawn for winter as soon as you see the first frost.
Lawns often get ignored or neglected during the winter, but there's much you can do to protect a healthy lawn over the colder months. Proper winterizing for warm- and cool-season grasses alike is important for protecting your turf during its dormant stage.
While winter lawn care is a task few people look forward to, following these simple steps will make the process more bearable and keep your lawn happily overwintered so you can enjoy a healthy green lawn in the spring. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.
How to winterize a lawn
These simple steps may take you a day or so, depending on the size of your yard, but can help your lawn overwinter properly and you'll be rewarded throughout the year.
Step 1 Treat dead leaves
Once autumn begins in earnest, you'll need to decide what to do with the piles of fallen leaves that shade the lawn below.
Many gardeners clean them up, either by throwing away the leaves or wrapping them on a compost pile. However, you can use dead leaves in your garden; Fallen leaves provide essential cover and warmth for insects and other wildlife and can bring more activity to your garden while helping the environment.
If you can handle a few messy piles of leaves when the weather cools, consider leaving certain areas of your lawn uncleaned. In open lawn areas, you can also use a mower to break up fallen leaves and use them as mulch. This provides a balance between cleanliness and environmental benefits.
Step 2 Get rid of weeds
Next comes one of the most tedious (but essential) garden tasks - removing weeds. Wintering the lawn is designed to improve grass growth and will also encourage the growth of any weeds. This makes them more difficult to remove later in the year, so it's best to get a head start by removing them as early as possible.
Removing weeds in early fall limits competition and ensures that the nutrients and water added at this time flow to the grass and not the weeds themselves. Avoid harsh chemicals that can affect lawn growth and the surrounding environment, and remove weeds by hand.
Step 3 Mow the grass
Should you stop mowing the lawn in winter? While you will mow less frequently in the fall, the process does require more skill than it does in the summer.
Letting your lawn grow too long can lead to mold growth, but for those who ask, "Should I cut my grass short before winter?" For people, we recommend cutting too short can cause stress before a potentially damaging frost. It takes a balance to get it right.
In early fall, raise the blade height by about half an inch. This will limit pressure and improve growth as the temperature drops. Cutting the lawn too short can expose the roots to potential damage and cause the area to die without protection.
Step 4 Inflate your lawn
To allow nutrients and moisture to penetrate the grass and penetrate deep into the soil, aerate the lawn before feeding. This is especially important in the case of thatch build-up in high flow areas, which affects not only water and nutrient uptake, but also airflow and drainage through the soil. You can find out how to mow a lawn in our separate guide.
It should be inflated during peak growth to ensure rapid recovery and regeneration. For cool-season grasses, this is part of the fall lawn winter routine. But, for warm-season grasses, it's best to wait until spring to prevent stress.
Do this before the first frost in your area to avoid damaging exposed leaves and roots.
Step 5 Fertilize
The final step in the process is to fertilize the lawn. Early fall is the best time for cool season grasses because that's when growth is stimulated and more nutrients are used.
Pay attention to winter fertilizers formulated for autumn use. These are usually higher in potassium than other lawn fertilizers to provide additional protection during the winter months.
For warm-season grasses that turn brown when frost strikes, avoid fertilizing in the fall. This could encourage new and fragile growth that will only die when temperatures drop. In these cases, wait until early spring to fertilize.
Step 6 Test your soil
The above steps are a major part of winterizing your lawn. However, they are not the only tasks you should consider. Test the soil for poor performance; Conducting soil tests can give you insight into potential problems. Knowing the nutrient levels in the soil, you can use fall fertilization to balance and improve spring growth. Testing the pH of the soil will also tell you if you need to add lime or sulfur to your lawn.
Step 7 Plant seeds
Planting grass seed to reseed and repair patches in grass or cover the entire lawn will ensure that it fills in early spring, helping to crowd out any remaining weed seeds that may appear.
In which months should I winter my lawn?
You should winterize your lawn in the fall until November, but definitely before the first frost.
Need a winter lawn?
Wintering the lawn is necessary as part of the process of keeping the grass thick and healthy. Just as you make sure your plants and flowers are prepared to withstand the harsh weather and cold conditions winter throws at them, you should also prepare your lawn for the impact.
Should I winter my lawn mower?
When winterizing your lawn, you can't forget about mower maintenance. If you pack your mower during frost or snow, drain the fuel, clean the machine, and sharpen the blades. Store in a dry place, away from moisture, until ready to use again.