The winter months can bring uncertainty to many gardeners. After the spring and summer months where lawns get bathed in the sultry sunshine, the wintertime can signal the end of many gardening tasks until the next year.
However, just because the days are shorter and colder, it doesn’t mean you have to put off repairs and maintenance for another year.
In this blog, we are going to find out how to care for your lawn to keep it green and luscious through the drawn-out winter days and nights. By keeping on top of your lawn’s health during the winter, you will get a head start as the days start to heat up from Spring onwards.
One method for protecting your lawn during the winter is to continue mowing the grass. Many gardeners stop cutting their lawns when the colder weather sets in. One reason is that you tend to spend a lot less time outside during this time so you won’t be enjoying the yard as much.
However, you can carry on mowing your lawn throughout the winter months to discourage various garden pests from making the soil and grass their home. Long grass can become a haven for harmful bugs and microbes that can damage the quality of the whole lawn.
Moreover, cutting the grass will allow the lawn and soil below to breathe for continued healthy growth. We suggest setting your mower’s blades a little higher than you usually use them and do not mow as regularly as in the summer months.
Aerate the grass once a year
Winter is an ideal time to aerate the lawn. This allows the soil under the blades of grass to breathe as well as let frost reach into the ground and break up soil compaction. If you have any hard or damp areas that require particular maintenance, target these spots to limit any issues.
Apply seeds to thinning patches
Fertilizer is unlikely to help areas of your lawn that are already dead or damaged. A potential remedy for such a problem is to apply a significant amount of seed to the area. This can encourage growth by the time spring comes along again.
However, we recommend seeding around August to mid-September for the best results. Once the seeds have been placed, you must keep the lawn well-watered. If you live in a particularly wet area, the rain can often do this job for you.
Rake away fallen leaves
As autumn rears its head, you will notice layers of leaves covering your lawn, especially if you have several trees in the area. You should rake away these leaves or use a blower to remove them. Much to many gardener’s annoyance, this could be a daily task for a few weeks.
Remove as much as you can to make your garden look tidier and allow more light and water to reach the root systems below the soil for improved breathability.
Should you leave grass long for the winter?
While mowing through the winter can benefit some lawns, it should be avoided if possible. Generally, it is best to trim your lawn just before the winter season approaches. As we mentioned, continued mowing through the wintry days can help protect your lawn but this is not always necessary.
Giving it a pre-winter cut each year can help prevent moldy fungi from forming on your lawn. As the cold weather sets in, turf grass tends to go into dormancy. This is normally the case when planting warm-season grasses.
Grass will usually stop growing with as much vigor in the summer months when the temperatures cool down to below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Because your turf stops growing or slows down, you shouldn’t need to cut it.
If you decide to mow and cut the grass too high, your grass can become susceptible to snow mold fungus. You should gradually lower the grass height for the last two or three times you mow. This way, you’re ensuring no more than ⅓ of the grass’s height is removed at once.
If you cut the grass too low over the winter season, it can lead to starvation. This is something that your lawn may not recover from, even after spring and the better weather arrives.
Whenever you mow your lawn, it is a stressful activity for the grass and turf. Therefore, you shouldn’t use blunt blades when doing the job. Always keep your blades sharp so that they simply clip the blades quite short but do not have any detrimental effects on the turf below.
Is it OK to fertilize the lawn in winter?
Because your lawn will not receive the same amount of sunlight and warmth during the winter season as the summer, many lawn owners wonder if it is okay to fertilize their lawn to maintain growth and health. Well, you don’t need to fertilize your lawn in the winter but it is possible.
Gardeners are encouraged to fertilize their lawns during the dynamic growth stage as this is when the roots are able to extract and utilize the nutrients fully.
When the grass is dormant, weeds are the only beneficiary of fertilizer. So, before you apply any fertilizer to your lawn, make sure what class of grass your lawn has.
Nonetheless, if you feed summer grasses toward the wintertime, it can improve the lawn’s appearance and can be helpful when the hot summer days come along again. It can also protect the grass from the harsh winter elements.
Winter grasses tend to do well in the fall and winter. As long as temperatures do not dip to freezing extremes, the grass should remain relatively healthy with simple maintenance.
Cool-seasoned grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass should be fed in in the fall season to maintain health and vigor throughout the winter season.
Instead of worrying about your lawn through the winter period, you can ensure it will be healthy by fertilizing it in the fall. From September through to mid-November, you can use Jonathan Green’s Winter Survival Fall Lawn Fertilizer.
Spread this on your lawn when the temperature starts to get cooler but the soil is still warm enough for the grassroots to grow deep.
This fertilizer will supply vital nutrients to your lawn so that it’s ready to tackle the winter head-on. It will help the grass maintain a deep-green color and handle the stress of cold winter winds descending on the lawn’s surface. It can also fend off early spring diseases like snow mold.