If you’re like most homeowners you take great pride in your home and your yard. Keeping your lawn healthy not only makes your home and property look attractive and well cared for, it also provides you and your family a lovely space to play and simply lounge outside.
However, as the seasons change so do the needs of your lawn. After you’ve spent all spring and summer managing new growth, your lawn care regime begins to change as fall works its way toward winter. While it might seem like your lawn will just go dormant over the colder months and rebound each spring like usual it’s actually very important to take the proper steps to prepare your lawn for the freezing temperatures ahead.
Now is a great time to start the process of winterizing your lawn and these five easy tips will help ensure that you have a beautiful bed of healthy grass to look forward to next spring.
1. Now is the Time for Aeration
Aerating your lawn is one of the most important steps in the winterization process. It’s a pretty basic part of lawn care. But, depending on the size of your yard, it can take some time. Aeration is simply driving holes into the lawn to break up the roots a bit and allow air, water, and nutrients to circulate more freely.
Aeration tools are readily available at most lawn and garden stores but you might want to hire a professional. Those fun aeration cleats can poke holes as you stomp through your lawn, but they’re not as effective as the real machines.
2. Fall Fertilizing
Some fertilizers are specially formulated for the winter months and these are the types that you’ll want to use this fall. Use a spreader to evenly and adequately spread the fertilizer over every inch of your yard and this will help your grass handle the stress of the cold winter months.
Be sure not to over-fertilize, however. Too much can severely damage your grass and even encourage unwanted growth so you’ll need to take care of your lawn weed control at this time as well.
3. Add Seeds if Needed
In most parts of the United States, fall is not always the right time to reseed your yard. But for those of you who live in the northern regions, fall is the best time to seed or reseed your lawn. You should take a soil sample to your local county extension office for a pH test and treat your soil if needed.
One of the benefits of seeding in the fall is that the sun’s rays are less intense, the moisture in the air and cooler rains stimulate the seeds, and they tend to germinate quickly. After you spread the seed, use a rake to distribute it evenly and be sure to water your new seeds if your fall weather is unusually dry.
4. Watering Your Winter Lawn
Watering a lawn in winter might seem like a useless endeavor. But again, depending on which climate zone you live in, you might be watering all year round. However, if your lawn is covered with snow or ice for most of the winter months, there’s no need to water.
Just be sure that your lawn has adequate moisture before the temperatures dip below freezing and especially if you’ve added new seed, as mentioned above. If you live in an area that usually sees a lot of winter moisture but you go through a warm, dry spell you may want to consider watering sparingly.
5. Remove the Debris
In addition to the above-mentioned lawn care tips, there are a few other things you can do over the winter months to ensure that your lawn bounces back come spring. Be sure to remove debris such as leaves and other detritus. Not only does this allow moisture and nutrients to reach the lawn itself, the act of raking removes dead grass and thatch which also increases your lawn’s overall health.
Additionally, you can use the leaves you’ve raked to cover and mulch plant beds and tree bases to help them retain moisture and protect the root systems over the winter.
Winterizing your lawn is not the most fun aspect of gardening but it’s vital if you want your lawn to weather the winter months well and come back with a vengeance next year. So start utilizing these tips now and start counting down to spring.
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