6 Simple Steps to Prepare Your Lawn For Winter. Lawn treatment for winter
Simple Steps to Prepare Your Lawn For Winter
With the arrival of autumn, your lawn tends to slow the pace of its growth, meaning you have to mow less frequently. Rather than skipping yard work all together, use this dormant period to prepare your grass for a glorious spring filled with lush, green growth.
Does your grass Grow Over the Winter?
Whether you live in the Deep South or the Northern Plains, nearly all turf grass goes dormant over the winter. Grass, like any other plant, needs a lot of sunlight to fuel its growth and, in the winter, days are much shorter. Still, Floridians (among others) will mow about once a month from November through the spring as a result of their proximity to the equator.
How To Prepare Your Lawn For Winter
The Basics of Pre-Winter Lawn Care
No matter where you live, the basics for preparing your lawn for winter are the same. These steps will help ensure you have a healthy lawn that’s ready to burst with color and healthy growth in the spring.
- STEP ONE – Clear Debris – As the season winds down, leaves drop off of trees and perennial plants die out. Remove any of these that are coming in contact with your grass because otherwise their presence may smother your lawn. The result will be dead patches wherever debris has accumulated. You can mulch this material and add it to your compost bin.
- STEP TWO –Rake Out Moss – Remove any moss that has managed to take hold in the less sunny parts of your property. With the season change, light-blocking trees may have lost their foliage and give you a great window of opportunity to reseed these areas. In other areas, moss may have developed in areas because the soil was low in grass-friendly nutrients. Remove this moss as well.
- STEP THREE –Pull Weeds – Patrol your lawn with a bucket, spade, fork and hand weeder. Remove any obvious weeds, roots and all. Don’t refill the holes – you’ll be able to do that in a later step.
- STEP FOUR –Aerate – Use an aerating tool to penetrate the soil throughout your lawn. Using a plug remover is best, but it takes a lot more time. A simple spike wheel is often sufficient to provide basic aeration.
- STEP FIVE –Apply a Top Dressing and Smooth – Get a sandy soil mix, spread it around your lawn and then brush this top dressing into your aeration holes with a broom. This dressing should mostly disappear as you work it into your lawn.
- STEP SIX –Feed – Apply appropriate lawn treatments, including grub killers, pre-emergent weed killer and fertilizer according to packaging instructions.
Ideal Treatments For Pre-Winter Lawn Maintenance
There are a number of treatments you can apply to your lawn in the fall to ensure your lawn is prepared for the spring growing season.
- Apply Fertilizer – Another helpful additive to your lawn is Safer Brand Lawn Restore II fertilizer. This high-nitrogen fertilizer has an NPK analysis of 10-0-6, providing nourishment for your lawn through tough conditions, including extreme cold. For your pre-winter application, spread it at a rate of 8 lb per 1,000 square feet.
- Spot Treat with Weed Killer – Still have some persistent weeds actively growing in the autumn? Hit them with Safer Brand Fast Acting Weed Grass Killer. This spot treatment lets you target individual plants. Addressing these plants in the fall will give your grass an opportunity to take over a in the spring when vigorous growth resumes.
Rake moss patches out of your lawn and reseed these areas with grass. Be aware that moss typically grows in areas with heavy shade, so your grass may not take.
What is Your Fall Lawn Maintenance Plan?
What do you do to prepare your lawn for the winter? If you have some of your own tips, share them with the Safer Brand community on
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Steps to Prepare your Lawn for Winter in Idaho
Mittens? Check. Windshield ice scraper? Check. Bulk supply of hot cocoa? Check.
Bring on winter! Wait — did you winterize your lawn?
Winter can take a toll on your lawn, from whiskered burrowing mice and voles to icky snow mold to pesky plows that gouge your pretty green carpet.
How to prepare your lawn for winter in Idaho?
Mow Low to Winterize Your Lawn
The shorter you cut your lawn for the winter, the less room there’ll be for mice and voles to bore, make tunnels, and cause damage.
A shorter cut helps deter that icky snow mold, too, a gray fungus that can set in over the winter.
Aim for a height of two inches or so — not too tall to invite rodents and snow mold, but not too short to be stressed by the cold.
Aerate Your Lawn
Chances are, if you’ve stuck with us at all, you know the great benefits of aerating your lawn.
Those tiny cores of soil that aeration removes helps break up compacted soil, allowing water, air and other nutrients to reach the roots so your lawn will breathe easier come spring.
Follow it up with a nice fall seeding. All those holes are perfect for great seed to soil contact.
Fall is actually one of the best times to aerate and overseed, with its cool air temperatures and still-warm soil.
Pro tip: Don’t rake up the little cores of soil left behind. Leave them to break down over the winter. They’ll add nutrients to the soil.
Prepare Your Lawn for Winter in Idaho: Clean Up
The tidier your lawn is heading into winter, the better.
Blow all your leaves, clean up any debris. Otherwise, you’re putting out a welcome mat for rodents looking for prime real estate for winter housing.
How to care for your lawn in winter
Mice and voles love to tunnel in inviting lawns, causing damage you’ll see in the spring.
Rodents aside, (please) grass needs sunlight to thrive. If you leave that mess of soggy leaves, grass clippings, and garden debris on your lawn, your nice green grass will weaken, and maybe even die.
Get Rid of Lawn Weeds
Hungry perennial weeds compete for nutrients with the rest of your lawn, so get them out of there before the long winter ahead.
Lots of weeds germinate in the fall, survive the winter, and actively grow in spring, including thistle, dandelions, and clover.
That means the only way to prevent these pesky invaders is applying fall pre-emergent as part of preparing your lawn for winter.
Extra attention to this now will help decrease your weeds next spring.
Don’t Skip Fall Fertilizing
It’s easy to forget fall fertilizing, but this final boost is more important than you think. It’s a key part of preparing your Idaho lawn for winter.
The final fertilizer treatment in fall includes important slow-release granular fertilizer that feeds your hungry lawn for the winter and helps it pop back up, ready to impress, in the spring.
Shoot for Halloween timing, after the last mowing.
Stake Your Driveway to Prevent Winter Lawn Damage
If you use a snow plow service, place snow stakes to mark where your pavement ends and lawn begins.
Plows can damage your lawn and take out sprinkler heads, causing damage you’ll have to repair in the spring.
Is Your Lawn Ready for a New Best Friend?
Preparing for winter means collecting soup recipes, buying a new shovel, and trying to remember where you stored your boots.
That’s a lot of excitement. Don’t get so caught up in the fun that you forget to prepare your Idaho lawn for winter.
Choose an Idaho Falls or Boise professional lawn care service that bundles your yard’s most-needed treatments into one convenient, no-fuss plan.
Fertilizing, weed control, grub control. Done.
Got a few minutes? That’s all you need to get started.
Then kick back and relax in your healthy, thriving yard.
Winter Lawn Care: Caring for Dormant Grass
After providing nearly nine months of TLC to your lawn, the winter is a time to take a rest and ensure your grass stays fed and protected throughout the winter. While winter lawn care is minimal compared to spring, summer, and fall, there are several important things to note about what happens to your grass during these months and now to ensure a healthy year ahead.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to care for your lawn going into the winter, during the peak of the season, and when spring appears on the horizon in March. Winter may look different across the country, but your soil and the grass will hit their low—or dormant—growing season as the temperatures drop.
Warm-Season vs. Cool-Season Grasses
We tend to associate winter lawn care with the colder states where the soil freezes and the grass goes dormant for nearly three months. It’s important to note that not all lawns behave in the same way throughout the winter. In the deep south and tropical climates, for example, warm-season grasses can stay lush and green if the temperature remains steady.
Warm-season grass growers in these much hotter climates can follow many of the fall lawn care tips throughout the cooler months as well, including pulling weeds, overseeding with other warm-season grasses, and keeping an eye on thatch and compacted soil. You can even keep watering these lawns up to an inch a week.
However, most warm-season grasses go dormant in the winter, if not as early as the late fall. They are especially since they are less protected against a sudden drop in temperatures. Instructions for these warm-season grasses as well as cool-season and transitional zone lawns, differ significantly from the fall, summer, and spring months.
Preparing for Dormancy
It’s easy to fear that your grass will simply die out in the extreme conditions of the winter. If you have the right variety of grass in your region, however, the grass is prepared to protect itself from the down season just like many of your trees and shrubs.
A grass goes dormant when temperature or moisture level drops below a certain level for an extended period of time. Dormancy allows the plant to cut down on energy use and save it up for next spring. Dormant grass will no longer hold that rich green color as it did in the summer. Yellow and brown blades will intersperse between the green.
If your grass turns completely brown in the winter and has trouble coming back in the spring, speak with a landscape professional at TruGreen to determine if you have the wrong variety for your region.
Early Winter Lawn Care
Lawn care during this tricky transitional time has a lot to do with when the first frost arrives. In some areas, especially climates in the transitional hardiness zone, this may not arrive until early December.
In other words, many of the late-fall lawn care tips may spill over into the early winter, especially if you didn’t have time to take care of them sooner. Use these first few weeks of winter to finish up a few tasks that support and feed grass before it enters the coldest months.
Fertilize One Last Time
One of the trickiest decisions for a homeowner is determining when to apply your final layer of fertilizer. Ideally, this comes before your grass has gone dormant—before the first frost—and after your final mow of the season.
This time of year typically calls for fertilizers high in nitrogen so the grass can store this energy throughout the winter. However, stick with fertilizer blends that are specific to your climate and variety of grass. Many winter-ready blends will be called “winterizing fertilizers,” denoting that they are ideal for the last layer of the season.
It’s important to note that some areas put restrictions on the dates you are allowed to spread fertilizer on your lawn. Some states will place a blackout period for fertilization during certain dates, so be sure to check local laws before applying.
Shift Your Mowing Schedule
By the time late fall rolls around, you’ve likely already lowered your mowing blades to keep your grass short for the winter. Be sure to still leave about two inches to allow your grass to root into the early with stability, but there’s no need to let it flourish as you did in the summer.
Keep an eye on when your grass stops growing for the season. This may be difficult to spot, since a random frost or coating of snow may not cause it to stop growing altogether. Once it has halted for the year, though, it’s safe to put your mower away.
Cut Down on Watering
In the north, it isn’t necessary to water your lawn as frequently throughout the colder months, especially during a rainy fall and into a snowy winter. If you experienced extreme drought in the fall, cut your watering schedule down to apply half an inch of water once every two weeks—instead of an inch each week.
Before watering your lawn, run a rake loosely over the soil to break open the compacted earth and welcome more water to its roots.
If you haven’t done so already, close up your sprinkler system for the winter after draining its hoses and pipes. Unless there is a significant drop in precipitation for weeks at a time, your hose won’t be needed until next March.
Mid-Winter Lawn Care
Once your grass fully drifts into dormancy—it will be clear when it stops growing and loses its color—you can give your lawn some space to rest for most of the winter. The majority of grasses handle cold weather cleverly enough to reserve energy for the next warm season, so it’s important to let it do its thing in the meantime.
Still, there are a few mid-winter tips to know to keep it healthy, especially during times of heavy snowfall.
Cut Down on Foot Traffic
Even though your grass is strong enough to make it through the winter freeze, it’s best to give it space to thrive without much disruption. Cut down on your lawn’s pressure in the winter by avoiding walking on it wherever possible.
It’s also important to avoid placing heavy equipment or storage on areas of your lawn during this time. Compacted soil will make it more difficult for grassroots to spread out in the spring when the ground begins to thaw.
Be Careful with De-Icers
Sidewalk salt and other de-icing chemicals can be particularly damaging to your lawn, even when it’s covered in a thick layer of snow.
Problems typically occur when salt is spread across your steps and walkways and then washes onto your grass. While this can’t be avoided in some circumstances, try to avoid spreading the salt too close to the end of the cement to avoid turf damage.
Luckily, grass will typically bounce back from salt damage in the early spring, but you may have several weeks of yellow or brown spots around its edges.
Keep Up With Debris
There may no longer be any leaves on the trees, but debris from branches and snow are common throughout the winter, especially as snowdrifts start to melt. After each defrost, clean up your lawn to protect your turf from displaced stones, heavy branches, or any other thick layers of material that can keep sunlight from reaching the soil.
Late Winter Lawn Care
If you’re excited to jump into next year’s lawn care plan, now is the time to build a strategy and make sure you’re ready for the spring. Depending on your region, late winter can bring warm enough temperatures to break out the hose, aerator, and even mower in the right conditions.
Schedule Your Lawn Care Plan
This respite of downtime is a great opportunity to look back and see where your lawn struggled over the past year. Did you spend a lot of time fighting off lawn fungus? Did you have to treat your lawn for weeds and pests? Going into the next year with a better fertilizer, seed blend, and even lawn tools can make your upcoming season a lot easier.
Speak with your local TruGreen team about easy tests to schedule in the earlier spring, including:
- A pH soil and nutrient test
- Choosing fertilizer for your grass variety
- Aeration and dethatching tools
- Pre-emergent weed control
- Common signs of pests in your lawn
Organize a calendar for the upcoming months with our year-round lawn care plan to always stay ahead of the game as the season speeds up.
Clear Away the Final Snow Piles
Ice and snow have the habit of building up in these later months of winter and sticking around in specific areas of your lawn. Break up these patches of thick snow and ice and spread them more evenly around the lawn to help them melt more quickly and evenly.
This process protects the grass underneath these heavier piles of snow both from compaction and from the threat of fungus once the weather suddenly warms up.
Avoid Moving Too Quickly
When the final weeks of winter finally arrive and your grass is finally clear of snow, it could be tempting to jump into initial lawn care to prepare for the spring. However, it’s important to give your grass some time to breathe and complete its dormancy period to avoid pushing it too quickly.
Your grass will likely look like it needs immediate intervention by this point, but it is simply storing its final bits of nutrients before waking up as the soil thaws. Avoid raking or aerating your lawn until the highly damp period of late winter passes and allows the soil to fully thaw and dry.
In most cases, avoid mowing, fertilizing, or overseeding your lawn until spring, preferably at least two weeks after the last frost.
Prep Your Tools
Signs of warmer weather ahead signal an excellent time to break out your spring lawn care tools and ensure they’re ready for one of the busiest times of the season. For example, take your mower to your local landscape specialist for a blade sharpening, refueling, and an all-around tune-up.
Break out your hand tools from the shed and ensure that they didn’t become blunted or rusty over the winter as well. This is also a great time to check if there are any additional tools that will simplify your life in the coming year.
Winter Lawn Care from the Experts
Unlike other seasons, winter care is primarily focused on taking preventive measures to protect grass in its dormant phase. However, keeping a professional team on hand—especially one familiar with your unique local climate—can simplify your winter things-to-do list.
TruGreen offers an extensive list of lawn care and maintenance plans for everything from seasonal rejuvenation to landscape troubleshooting. With locations spread across the US, our expert and environmentally focused services are some of the most highly trusted in the nation.
In addition to lawn care, the TruGreen team can advise how to care for all your winter-sensitive trees and plantings. Without the worry of keeping your lawn safe in the winter, you FOCUS on getting the rest and relaxation after a long year of dedicated lawn work.
Winter Lawn Maintenance In Charlotte
Proper care is important for maintaining a good looking lawn in Charlotte. Lawn care doesn’t stop just because the colder months are rolling in. Matter of fact, it’s crucial to maintain your lawn during the winter so you can have a healthy lawn in the spring. It takes less work to maintain your lawn during the winter but that doesn’t mean you can just forget about it if you want your lawn looking its best year-round!
What exactly should you do for winter lawn maintenance? We’re glad you asked!
Aerating your lawn is the process of putting holes in the soil. This allows water and nutrients to better penetrate the roots, allowing them to grow deeper and creating a stronger, healthier lawn. Aerating before the first frost will let your grass breathe before it goes dormant for the winter. It also helps alleviate soil compaction that built up during the summer months.
Give your lawn the boost it needs before it goes dormant for winter by fertilizing. The grass will store the nutrients during the winter and utilize them in spring when the dormant period ends, giving your lawn the preparation it needs to thrive.
Keep it Clean
As the leaves fall, they build up on the lawn. If they are not taken care of, leaves can create tons of problems for your lawn. A layer of leaves decreases airflow to your lawn, leaving it potentially open to suffocation. Wet leaves also create problems by becoming a welcome host to disease and pests that thrive in wet environments.
As much fun as it is for kids to see their paths marked in frosted grass, keeping traffic to a minimum during the cold months will benefit your lawn. Even the toughest grass can become weak when it is repeatedly walked on.
Keeping your driveway and sidewalk free of ice reduces the need to walk on the lawn to get to and from your home. Treating ice immediately is not only beneficial for safety, but it benefits your lawn as well. Be sure to compare salts and ice melts and find out which one will be the most effective. An ice treatment with high melting power reduces the amount needed and will therefore reduce the impact it could have on your lawn.
Spread Grass Seed
There are various grass seeds on the market, including some that are called cool weather seeds. These seeds are built to resist the cold weather and will help keep your lawn looking full. Make sure to get an even spread while putting the seed down so you’re not left with patches that are less full than other areas of your lawn.
Lower the Mower
For the last few lawn mows of the season, lower the mower blade slightly. Longer grass can smother itself. Be sure not to go too short though, since grass that’s cut too short can be an open invitation to disease and pests.
Lawn care doesn’t stop just because winter is rolling in. Get your lawn winter ready by aerating and fertilizing. If you seed, grab some cool weather seed to spread before the first frost. Clean up those leaves and lower your mower blade the last few times you mow for the season. Your lawn will be ready to flourish in spring if you keep your lawn maintained during winter.
For more information or to get a free estimate, contact us today!