Preparing your lawn for the winter helps keep it healthy and attractive throughout the year. Winter lawn care offers protection against the effects of snow, ice, and plunging temperatures.
The following are six tips for keeping your lawn in good shape during the coldest months of the year. Most of them work best when implemented in the fall, so you shouldn’t wait to act until winter officially begins.
1) Aerate Your Lawn
Aeration loosens up compacted soil. It also breaks up thatch, a dense and tangled mass of organic matter, such as dead grass and leaves, that builds up at the base of your lawn.
After aeration, it’s easier for nutrients, water, and oxygen to reach the roots of your lawn. Other benefits of aeration include a stronger protection against certain pathogens and a greater absorption of fertilizer.
Aerating in the fall can help revitalize your lawn before cold weather sets in. Don’t hesitate to consult with us about when to time the aeration and how frequently to do it during the year. The condition of your turf, the soil type on your property, the types of grass you’ve planted, and the amount of activity on your lawn all affect the optimal timing and frequency.
2) Fertilize Before the Season’s First Frost
Fertilizing your lawn infuses it with essential nutrients. The fertilizer remains in the soil and helps nourish the grass throughout the winter, enhancing the strength of the roots.
The timing of the application is important. The fertilizer for the winter shouldn’t be applied too early, but you also don’t want to put it off for too long, delaying it past the first frost. As experts in lawn care, we know when to time the application and how much fertilizer to use; an excessive amount can damage the lawn.
3) Mow Before It Snows
As cold weather sets in, don’t let your grass stay overgrown. Mowing it to the right length helps keep it healthier and more resilient.
If the grass is shorter, it’s less likely to trap excessive moisture and develop snow mold. This fungal disease can easily take root in lawns that have poor drainage, stifled air circulation, and overly high levels of moisture.
Mowing your lawn is also an important part of pest control. For example, rodents prefer areas with tall grass when looking for places to burrow in the winter. If they form tunnels in your lawn, they can cause extensive damage to the turf.
4) Be Careful With Ice Melters
Different kinds of ice-melting products, such as rock salt, are notoriously bad for lawns. They may cause the grass to become dehydrated, and they can lead to a toxic buildup in the soil.
Of course, you don’t want paved surfaces around your property to be coated in ice. But you also don’t want to suffer preventable damage from these products.
The most vulnerable areas of your lawn are near sidewalks, front walks, streets, and driveways. Methods of protecting these areas include covering them with burlap and putting up a barrier of snow fencing. Depending on what your yard looks like, you can also use landscaping features as a shield, such as rocks or a cluster of plants that are more salt tolerant.
Some ice melters are less damaging to grass than others. For example, a product using calcium chloride may have less of a negative impact on your lawn, though you should still make sure that the grass doesn’t get exposed to large amounts of it.
5) Give Your Lawn Some Rest
You don’t have to completely avoid your lawn in the winter. You can still have snowball fights on it or build a snowman. However, you should try to reduce unnecessary traffic on your lawn. Frozen turf is especially susceptible to damage due to repeated trampling. Reducing lawn traffic can be as simple as encouraging people to use a walkway instead of crossing the lawn to your front door.
6) Keep Your Property Tidy
Raking, tree triming, and weed control have multiple benefits, and one of them is ensuring that your lawn isn’t choked by excessive organic matter. When your lawn is thickly blanketed by leaves, weeds, and fallen twigs and branches, it becomes more vulnerable to pathogens and pests, and it can suffer from oxygen and nutrient depletion.
In addition to tidying up your property, look for ways to put some of the excess organic matter to good use. For example, after raking leaves, you can grind them into mulch. The mulch may be used on your lawn or other areas of your yard, keeping the soil warmer in the winter and improving soil fertility.
Contact Red Shovel
For close to two decades, we’ve been providing a variety of landscaping and groundskeeping services to communities in New Mexico. If you live in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, or surrounding areas, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a healthier and more beautiful property. We’re available at 505-243-2277 or through our site.