There’s no denying it: the colder weather is here! But before you think about winter, look ahead to next spring – and how you want your yard to feel when these winter months are over. Preparing the yard and protecting it all winter will help achieve a healthy lawn long after the last snow. Explore our winter lawn care prep and tips for mowing, fertilizing, aerating and avoiding soil compaction.
Mow Your Lawn for Winter
Short grass in winter keeps away rodents and limits the threat of snow mold. Be sure to mow until the grass stops growing. Cut the grass shorter than usual, gradually decreasing the cut level two mowings leading up to the last cut. If cold weather arrives before that one last cut, just wait until a dry day to finish up.
Once the mower is finished for the season, show it some love before it goes into the garage or shed for its annual hibernation. Clean your mower and repair or upgrade any parts if needed. It’s an excellent time to sharpen mower blades, get new wheels, and even check the cutting deck height adjustment gear.
Don’t Skip Aeration & Fertilization
Want your yard to “spring” back to life with well-nourished shoots? Put in the work winterizing the grass with aeration, which needs done prior to the first freeze, and fertilizer, which can be done as a slow release into the month of December. Aeration is one of the best things you can do for the health of your lawn and it helps the grass breathe one more time before the winter frost. The process removes pieces of soil (plugs) from the ground, helping to loosen up compacted areas and make way for water, air and nutrients to get to the roots.
Once that’s complete, we recommend applying a slow-release fertilizer for the roots to absorb and even store essential nutrients throughout the winter. By spring, this nutrient stockpile gives the yard a healthy head start, and can thwart pests and weeds from showing up. As always, pay close attention to the fertilizer instructions and remember, more isn’t better.
Limit Soil Compaction
The snow is beautiful, but it can absolutely damage your grass during winter. Heavy snowfall and the weight of piles of shoveled or plowed snow can lead to compacted soil and even bare spots. If possible, spread out the snow when clearing driveways and sidewalks to limit soil compaction throughout the season. Spreading it out will also help speed up the melting process and cut down on potential snow mold. When applying salt to slippery walkways, do so carefully without getting it in the grass – this could lead to additional damage.
Soil compaction also results from parking cars on grass. While this occurs more often in the summer to make room for pool party traffic, some homeowners might require extra parking spots for out-of-town guests visiting for the holidays. Excessive lawn traffic weakens the soil during the frost and dormant seasons. It may seem convenient at the time, but avoiding lawn traffic now will definitely pay off later.
Brothers Grimm Landscaping & Design
Don’t get left out in the cold! Learn more about all of the lawn care services we offer at Brothers Grimm. You can also get a head start dreaming about landscaping and/or pool design for next spring and summer.