Protecting Your Yard During Those Cold Winter Months
When the temperature begins to drop, it can signal an end for outdoor chores for many people, but even though many lawns have gone to bed for the winter, there are still many things you can do prior to and during the winter months to ensure a gorgeous and lush lawn come spring. The key to winter lawn care begins first in fall.
As the weather starts to change, begin by cutting back on watering the lawn. As the temperature decreases, growth will too, and the sun won't evaporate the water so easily, so there's no need to water too frequently. Consider aerating the lawn in early fall and re-seeding sparse areas before fertilizing in late fall. Fertilization prior to winter is key. The lawn will then use this time to begin storing nutrients to help it weather the cold and begin new growth in spring. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer for best results.
Begin adjusting the height of your grass as summer ends so that, by winter, the grass is relatively short. Long grass can attract unwanted creatures, and it provides more surface area for mold and fungal diseases to set in. Short grass is healthy grass and will allow for a more even base for new growth in the spring.
Once winter hits, part of lawn care depends on the type of grass you have. Some grasses will not go completely dormant during winter, so it's important that they still receive water on drier or warmer days. Regardless of the type of grass you have, you will want to keep it free of debris during winter. Any objects on top of the grass will act as a nest for infections to grow and pests to visit. Rake away plant debris, and throw out wayward trash. Snow can also create mold, so distribute snow as evenly as possible to help it melt away more quickly.
Most importantly, avoid heavy traffic during the winter and the early days of spring. During the winter, the grass may be covered in ice, which means any weight can crush blades into oblivion. As the grass thaws out in spring, new growth will be delicate, and excessive traffic can put an end to it. Encourage an avoidance of foot traffic by making sidewalks accessible, and consider roping off particularly vulnerable areas of growth. Never allow someone to park their car on the lawn as this will quickly flatten all beneficial growth, paving the way for weeds and other unwanted plants.
Winter lawn care requires some forethought in fall, but grass shouldn't be left on its own just because it's cold out. With a few simple tips, your lawn can emerge from its slumber fresh-faced and ready to provide a pleasant and functional area for you and your family come spring.