How To Prepare Your Lawn For Winter & Protect Your Grass

winter lawn frosted with snow

As jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin spice get replaced with cornucopias and sleigh bells, your lawn will soon finish growing for the year. Since your lawn will not be very active over the next few months, it will not require quite as much maintenance, but winter lawn care is still necessary. Keep reading to learn what you should do to protect your grass in winter so your lawn will be healthy come springtime. Here’s some advice to keep in mind:

Spot-treat Lawn Weeds and Diseases

When getting your lawn ready for winter, it’s a good idea to have herbicides applied to any weedy areas. Weed issues will only get worse if they are ignored, so it’s best to take care of them early so you won’t have to worry about them next year.

When caring for cool-season grasses in winter, you might experience snow mold. This is a lawn fungus that thrives in wet and cold conditions and can kill your grass. This can be prevented by having a winter fertilizer (also known as dormant feeding) applied before the first frost. This fertilizer helps the grass store nutrients needed to survive the winter while minimizing growth during the colder months.

* Some states have restrictions and cutoff dates for winter fertilization. For example, NJ has a blackout period from November through February.

Don’t Stress the Grass

In areas of the country that get snow, lawns often experience significant stress. Heavy blankets of snow will put pressure on the grass, which can cause your lawn to brown out or die. Avoid walking on the lawn to limit this damage since foot traffic can severely worsen this problem.

Another stressor to grass in winter is salt. To protect your grass from rock salt, avoid shoveling snow that is full of salt onto grass and salting areas near the grass. If possible, use a calcium chloride-based mixture which is less harmful on turf.

Clear Your Yard of Objects and Debris

While you’re working on your winter lawn care, make sure to remove any objects from your lawn before winter starts. Grass that is trapped underneath outdoor furniture, toys, and decorations will likely die due to a lack of sunlight, so remove as many items from your lawn as possible.

Also, rake leaves thoroughly before caring for cool-season grasses in the winter. Here’s an important tip: clear the yard before the first frost to make leaf removal easier. You might accidentally rip up turf when you rake over frozen grass.

Winterize Your Lawn Mower

Make sure to mow your lawn one last time before you winterize your lawn mower. Winterizing lawn mowers refers to the process of fixing up and properly storing your lawn mower at the end of the mowing season. These tasks include:

  • Sharpening or replacing mower blades
  • Changing the oil
  • Tightening loose parts
  • Inspecting for leaks and other problems
  • Draining any remaining fuel
  • Checking the manual for additional maintenance

For a more detailed guide, check out our blog on winterizing your lawn mower for storage.

Additionally, your local Lawn Doctor may offer Lawn Mower Maintenance to ensure you have properly winterized your lawn mower, so give us a call for expert inspection and repair if needed.*

Spring into Action

Both warm and cool-season grasses will start growing again in spring. Make sure to take notice of when your lawn begins to grow so you can begin to mow and water again.Just as you should in winter, stay on the lookout for weeds and diseases.  For more information on post-winter lawn care, see our tips on cleaning up your yard after winter 

Getting the lush, green lawn you’re striving for starts far before springtime. Take care of your turf in the winter by following our winter lawn care tips and you’ll have a headstart come growing season.

Need someone to help you out? No matter the time of year, Lawn Doctor is here to help you achieve the beautiful lawn you’ve been dreaming of. Contact us today for a free lawn care evaluation or to schedule an appointment. 

* Franchises are independently owned and operated. Services vary by location.

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