6 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.
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.
- Fight Grubs Now – The grubs living in the soil underneath your lawn will eat grass and plant roots before emerging as adult insects when they will make another meal of your plants. Late fall is the time they work their way into the soil to spend the winter and it’s also a perfect opportunity to target them. For a simple treatment, connect Safer® Brand Grub Killer Concentrate to your hose and apply to your lawn. Repeat the treatment 2 to 3 times over the next 10 days for maximum grub control.
- 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.
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 Facebook.
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