Temperatures and leaves are dropping. Winter is quickly approaching. We here at LawnRx know that good lawn care doesn’t end with the warmer weather. Here are a few ways to make sure that your lawn is ready for winter conditions.
Fertilizing in late fall can help your lawn recover from dormancy faster in the spring. As the temperatures fall the grasses in your yard switch focus from the blades to the roots. Feeding the active roots helps them store up nutrients for use in the spring. Having a healthy well-fed root system can also help the turf survive harsh winter conditions.
While we recommend keeping your grass at least 3.5” high the rest of the year, it is a good idea to end the growing season with your grass slightly shorter. Your last cut should be at about 2-2.5”. It may take more than one cut to get to that length since you never want to remove more than 1/3 of the height of the blades at once. Keeping the grass shorter over the winter can prevent it from getting matted and becoming susceptible to snow mold. This disease, as the name implies, comes from a fungus that resembles snow in appearance. The spores sprout and spread in temperatures between 32° and 45°F when snow melts and soaks the soil. Snow mold is usually spotted when the temperatures begin to climb and the mold itself or straw-colored patches of grass become visible. Proper lawn height is just as important in the lawn’s winter dormancy as in the rest of the year.
Those lovely red and gold leaves were beautiful while on the trees but now they’re creating a nuisance on lawns. Be sure to mulch or rake up and dispose of fallen foliage. Excessive leaf cover deprives the turf of sun, and air which can weaken or even kill patches. Don’t forget to remove leaves and any dead annuals from flower beds as well. Also, cut back any perennials that are going dormant for the winter. A build-up of dead plant matter can cause mold or mildew issues in these areas.
Trees and Shrubs
When getting ready for the winter be sure to take care of your trees and shrubs too. Covering young or evergreen trees with burlap can help protect them from icy temperatures, wind, and even deer. As food sources become more scarce deer can be driven to feed off of vulnerable plants on your property. Along with covering, it may also be a good idea to remove any dead twigs or branches. Be sure to save any major pruning for the spring, however. It could also be beneficial to brace any branches that could be overwhelmed by snow or ice build-up.
With the hard work of preparing your lawn for winter done, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the holidays. Spring will be here before you know it and you’ll be glad you worked so hard to give your lawn the best opportunity to come back out of dormancy quick, green, and healthy.