We all would love a green, pristine lawn in the warmer months, but weeds and patchiness always seem to get in the way. The key to a great lawn, however, starts long before the spring. It takes preparation and using the winter months to your advantage can really aid your goal of having a lawn to be proud of. There are a few steps that you can take in the winter to get your lawn ready to grow this spring.
People are generally more prepared to fertilize their flowering plants than their grass, but your lawn can always use extra nutrients as well. This task can be done either in the late fall or the early winter. Fertilizing should be done before the first big freeze or when frost becomes apparent. As most weeds die during the winter months, fertilizing allows your grass the opportunity to absorb nutrients unopposed. And as it starts getting colder, your lawn will have already packed the nutrients into the soil which will continue to feed the roots as the winter progresses.
Rake your lawn
Raking leaves is no one’s idea of a fun time, but it is a very important thing to do to secure your lawn’s health. When you let your leaves lie where they fall on your yard, they can cause several different issues for your grass. Leaves block sunlight to your grass – which is still essential for its health, even in winter – and can hinder the process on water evaporating. If the ground stays too wet for too long, mould can develop and hurt your grass even further.
Either rake your leaves and remove them from your garden or use a mower to break them down into tinier pieces that can be useful to your soil. Leaves can make a great fertilizer so long as they’re broken down and useful to your grass.
Cut your grass shorter
Lawn experts warn against cutting your grass too short during the summer. It can cause stress to your grass, make it susceptible to burns from the heat, and allows weeds a chance to outgrow it.
In the winter, however, cutting your grass shorter than normal can be extremely beneficial. If your grass isn’t cut short enough, the grass can become matted down and potentially smother itself throughout the winter. Longer grass also attracts pests that can set up nests; those in turn will mess up your lawn as well. Cutting your grass shorter also helps to ward off weeds before they begin, especially if you live in a place where a good freeze can happen.
Don’t walk on the lawn too much
Making a snowman or having a snowball fight in the garden with your family can be extremely fun in the winter. However, those soggy conditions can put a lot of stress on your lawn. Excessive foot traffic – especially in soggy conditions – can compress your soil and ruin the integrity of your lawn.
Constantly walking on brown, short grass can make it have a hard time recovering in the spring. Grass is normally pretty resilient, but not when heavy foot traffic is involved as it slows its recovery. Have fun and go play out in the snow; just be wary of the traffic your lawn is getting and try to move to different areas every now and then.
Aerate your Lawn
Aerating is generally a practice that most experts recommend for the spring or fall. However, aerating helps the grassroots by allowing air, nutrients, and water to penetrate the soil more easily. In the winter, your soil struggles the most with this cycle. If your lawn looks matted and is retaining water, aerating might be a great option to prevent some issues.
The fall and winter make or break a great lawn in the spring. By preparing early and keeping an eye on your lawn during the winter, you can get a head start in turning heads with your lawn.
Valerie Cox is a contributing writer for BeautyLawn Spray. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, swimming, and playing with her puppy.