Protect Your Lawn in Winter
Protect Your Lawn in Winter
October 18, 2020
You made it through the holiday season and now is the time to give a little attention to your lawn.
Resilience is key. When the last leaf falls from your trees, will your yard be ready for winter? The idyllic gardening conditions of the fall season have passed, which means – if you haven’t already done so -- you need to act fast and prep your yard before the cold weather takes its toll. Follow our simple tips below to help stave off the ill-effects of cooler weather.
Fill in Bald Spots
Repairing “bald spots” on your lawn before the cold weather kicks in for good can keep the haggard look from your lawn through until spring. Rake up any fallen leaves in order to observe where your lawn could use more growth. Popular Mechanics recommends that you buy an all-in-one lawn repair mixture, which is available at Lowe’s. Your mixture should include grass seed, lawn fertilizer and organic mulch. To fill in the bald spot, you should rake over the spot to loosen up the soil and add a layer of your lawn mixture on the surface. Make sure you water the spot each day for two weeks for improvement in growth.
If you find a chance while the weather isn’t quite so harsh, getting a head start on fertilizing will pay dividends come spring. Using a rotary spreader (like these from Home Depot) allows you to easily distribute fertilizer to stimulate grass growth before the ground freezes. To keep the spreader from dumping too much fertilizer in one spot, This Old House suggests opening and closing the hopper of the rotary spreader only when it’s in motion.
Tend to Your Flower Beds
Luckily, flowerbeds don’t need much preparation between seasons, but there are a few things you can do to help prevent damage in the winter months. As late summer and fall flowering perennials (plants and flowers that live longer than two years) usually have dead stems and leaves on top, MSN Home recommends removing any dead portions of these plants. By removing the dead and unneeded parts, you can eliminate extra moisture in your soil and prevent the roots from rotting in colder conditions.
Avoid Excessive Lawn Traffic
When your lawn is preparing for the colder months, it’s important to keep foot traffic and other direct contact on the grass to a minimum. According to Lawn Care, when you keep lawn traffic to a minimum it allows time for your grass to absorb nutrients and prepare for winter conditions. This way, your grass will recover quicker from any weather damage and be ready for a lush return come spring.
Adjust Blade Length
In addition to fertilizing your lawn in the fall, it’s important to pay attention to the length of your grass blades. Better Homes and Gardens recommends cutting your lawn a little shorter later in the year to prevent grass from matting down under leaves and snow in the winter. If you left the blades longer during the summer months, a good blade length for the fall & winter is about 2 inches. It’s also important to keep up with leaf raking. If there’s too much pileup from leaves, your grass will not get the needed sunlight for growth before the winter hits in full.
Tip: Use WD-40 Specialist® Silicone to protect your gardening tools from rust this winter.