Summer is over, and the colder months are setting in. It’s a great time for sweaters, hot apple cider, and warm fires. It’s not such a great time for your lawn. In fact, the fall and winter months can severely damage your lawn. Fortunately, you can ensure your lawn is lush and healthy next spring by using these tips to protect it from the cold weather.
1. Aerate It
Your lawn needs to breathe, so it’s a good idea to aerate it once a year in the fall by breaking up compacted turf and pulling up plugs of grass and soil with a hand-aerating tool. Aerating your lawn will allow nutrients, water, and oxygen to reach the roots. As a result, new seeds can sprout, and new grass can grow, ensuring it’ll be healthy in the spring.
2. Seed It
The fall is actually the prime time to seed your lawn since the soil temperatures are optimal and the roots grow expansively. Make sure to purchase only high-quality seed, so you don’t end up seeding with hollow husks, rye grass seed, and weed seed, which are often present in cheep seed and will die during the first frost. Higher-quality seed is more resistant to frost, drought, disease, and insects. And a dense lawn will help keep weeds away in the spring.
3. Fertilize It
Fertilizing should be done later in the fall before the first frost sets up. This can help your grass absorb and store much needed nutrients to make it through the colder months and come out green and lush in the spring. The fertilizer you choose should be high in phosphorous or, alternatively, nitrogen-rich, to ensure proper root and shoot growth.
4. Rake It
Ideally, you don’t want leaves, dead grass plants, and organic debris to freeze on your lawn during the winter and thaw in the spring. Leaves trap in moisture and block the sun. Raking your lawn will prevent brown patches from occurring and will help ensure you don’t have any sun-deprived parts on your yard.
Instead of throwing away the leaves after raking them, consider running them over with a mower to grind them into soil-enhancing mulch. This mulch can protect your lawn from wind and dryness, and when it decomposes, it can feed the roots. If you don’t rake thoroughly, the unlucky turf underneath the leaves will be dead come springtime.
5. Mow It
Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you can stop mowing the lawn. Your grass will continue to grow during the autumn months, so keep mowing until the growth stops. Your grass should be approximately two and a half inches tall to stay healthy. Grass that grows over three inches tall can lead to lawn disease problems, including snow mould. On the other hand, grass that’s cut too short likely won’t be able to withstand the dry and cold weather of the winter months.
6. Water It
You should still be watering your lawn even though the temperatures are colder. Although there isn’t as much evaporation in the fall, and there’s more dew and rain, it still may not be enough moisture to keep your grass healthy and well-hydrated into the winter months. You should be watering as needed to sustain growth until the first frost sets in.
7. Remove Weeds
Make sure to remove weeds before the temperature dips to below 50 degrees Fahrenheit so the herbicide has enough time to kill the weeds before winter sets in.
The best way to ensure your lawn is thick and green in the spring is to prepare it in the fall. Use these lawncare tips to get your lawn winter-ready.