Are you looking to get your lawn in the best possible shape in winter? Whether your grass is rye, fescue, meadow, bent, or any other variety, proper lawn care in winter will help it look beautiful in spring!
Table of Contents
- Lawn Care Tips In Cold Weather
- Winter Lawn Care Do's
- Winter Lawn Care Dont's
- Final Words: Tips For Winter Lawn Care
Lawns flourish in the summer and spring but as the coldest months of the winter season arrive, the lush green grass can turn dull and straw-coloured. This is because most lawns varieties become dormant grass in winter and without the right lawn care during this period, your grass can really struggle, especially if snow hits or ice forms on the surface.
So what should you do to help your grass survive the winter weather ready for the summer months?
In this article I’m gonna share with you some important winter lawn care tips, to make sure you have a head start from autumn to the first winter rains and all the way through to spring!
Lawn Care Tips In Cold Weather
1. Avoid Foot Traffic
Foot traffic always damages the lawn, but it can really weaken it during winter. High traffic spots might die off leave ugly patches, which can be hard to revive in the springtime and can create sedimentation.
A healthy lawn in winter, therefore, starts with clear and visible walkways, pathways, and entrances to provide you, your family, and your visitors a way to avoid walking on the lawn. A snow-covered path is no use if nobody can see it!
Throughout the winter, give your lawn as much rest as you can.
2. Keep the Lawn Clean
Leaf litter that accumulates during the autumn can cause you real problems in winter months if you’ve been lazy and haven’t kept the lawn tidy. Keeping your lawn clear of any fallen leaves, twigs, sticks, and branches is critical. If a storm drops more debris then you need to get out there quickly and clean up!
The big risk here is lawn fungus. Wet leaves are a breeding ground for the microorganisms that give life to fungus and once it takes hold it can be very difficult to manage without a full blow lawn treatment. Frost can slow this process, but as the temperatures begin to rise and the ice melts, water accumulation can lead to fungus overgrowth, bug breeding, and barren spots. So get your best rake, leaf blower, or garden vacuum out and get cleaning!
3. Feed Your Lawn
Fertilizing and Grass Growth
A good quality lawn fertilizer contains essential nutrients the soil needs to promote root growth and lead to healthy grass. Make sure you select a winter fertilizer and follow the product’s recommendations, only using the prescribed quantity of fertilizer. Over-fertilizing can cause your lawn to wilt.A fertilizer spreader is often a good idea here. A good quality spreader will help you to evenly fertilize your lawn and can make the job much easier.
If you want to avoid inorganic fertilizers, composting is a great way to ensure your soil still contains the nutrients needed for beautiful green grass. Composting not only helps the grass to grow but it penetrates the grassroots to make your turf healthy. It’s also a great way to prevent unwanted bushes or weeds from taking root.
Fertilize or compost your turf to deliver the nutrients it needs through the cool season, ready to look gorgeous in early spring!
4. Mowing Your Lawn
Mowing your lawn remains important in winter months for healthier lawn. However, you should reduce the mower blades by a click or 2 relatives to your autumn sessions. It’s fine if the winter season arrived before you lower the level, but be sure to get this lower mow in before the first frost, and don’t try using your mower while the lawn is wet unless you have an appropriate lawn mower and really know what you’re doing.
The importance of mowing in the winter is connected to the risk of fungus and disease. Tall grass plants can become buried under the weight of moisture, snow, or ice and spread illness, or be damaged by freeze-thaw action.
Conversely, be careful not to mow the lawn so short that it is scalped, uncovering the grass plant’s top to harsh temperatures.
Although weeding is a key lawn care activity during summer and spring, some resist low temperatures and keep hurting your lawn in the cool weather. Weeds including dandelions, clover, and broadleaf may immediately take over your yard, stealing the water, light, and space your lawn requires to flourish.
What’s more, winter is the time when weeds germinate, spreading throughout your lawn and hitting hard when spring arrives. So you need to get control of weed growth in early winter to give your lawn in the next growing season.
When your lawn is wet or mushy, but still not buried in cold snap or frost, it’s better to pull undesired weeds as soon as you see them. Use weeding tools to pull them from the roots, or select an appropriate weed killer. This will really speed up the process. If you stay on top of weeding in the wintertime, it will make your life much easier in spring.
6. Remove Moss and Mold
Most people are familiar with moss if it appears in their yard but snow mold is less well-known but just as problematic to deal with. Snow mold is commonly known as Fusarium and is a fungus that causes yellowish/brown areas on the grass, often forming in the presence of snow, as the name suggests.Caution should be taken, as the solution to moss, mold or a fusarium patch is different. Some fungal illnesses gain traction in cool, dry conditions and can be managed through proper watering. Others are caused by excess moisture in the soil resulting from compaction and require aeration to improve drainage in the soil and protect your grass from further fungal invasions.
Complete eradication of mosses and molds is challenging. The physical solution entails removing sick and dead grass using a strong raking technique or a spade to dig and peel the lawn back, and letting the surviving grass sprout new growth. However, this can do more harm than good if not done correctly and so it’s recommended that you instead use a carefully formulated treatment. This will differ depending on your turf but is a great solution if you’re lawn is suffering from this ailment.
7. Aerate Your Lawn
Keeping your lawn free from debris prevents fungus on the surface, but the grassroots still need some attention. This is why aerating your lawn is so important. By aerating the soil you deliver more air to the root system, promote root growth, relieve compaction, and improve drainage.
Water can pool in your yard after a winter storm or when snow and ice thaw. Poor drainage is a sign of compressed and compacted soil. You fix this issue when you aerate the soil, enhancing drainage and allowing the water to subside. As a result, your lawn will be stronger.
Aerating the soil is also the first step to take before sowing grass seed, ready for new green growth in spring and summer.
To aerate your lawn and prepare holes for sowing seeds, take a spade, pitchfork, or lawn corer, making sure to any remove clumps of mud as you go. If you have a big lawn, you may wish to invest in an electric or mechanical aerator to make the job much faster and easier while keeping your yard healthy.
8. Sow Grass Seeds
The ideal time for sowing grass seeds is typically spring. However, sowing grass seeds in autumn or winter can still be helpful for promoting lush grass.
One great reason to sow seeds outside of spring is to repair the bare spots in the lawn. Aerate your lawn and sow new seed, being sure to provide enough space and seeds to allow roots to set in and grow.
Although rolling new turf is an option, going for grass seeding a more economical method for growing your lawn around your home and actually a better solution in colder weather when new turf may struggle to take root.
One Last Tip - Watering Your Lawn
It might seem counter-intuitive, but winter can actually bring drought. If you’re in an area suffering from winter drought, you may still need to water regularly, but be sure that the temperature is above 5° C or the water may freeze and cause more harm than good.
Ensuring some moisture during winter also minimizes the risk of parasites, some of which are inclined to dry, cool grasses, leaving them withered and discoloured.
Obviously, if you’re in an area that’s receiving plenty of rain, then there’s no need to add any more water.
Winter Lawn Care Do's
Winter Lawn Care Dont's
Final Words: Tips For Winter Lawn Care
You may have thought you could take a little rest from outdoor lawn and garden tasks, but a perfect lawn requires work all year round! So don’t put your lawn mower in the shed just yet!
If left unsupervised, problems such as wilted plants, fungus, disease, invasive weeds, and untidy scenery can develop. Planning and continuous observation are essential for healthy growth during the cold season.
Follow our comprehensive guide to winter lawn care tips and your grass will look amazing once the warmer months roll around. Good luck!