When the fall is nearly ending and winter is coming closer, you have to prepare your Lawn. When the days are getting shorter and the temperature drops, grass will grow slower. If you do not pay attention to your Lawn for an extended time, it will eventually become untidy and turn into an utter mess when spring arrives. Many times, people ask if it is really necessary to mow the Lawn in the winter season. The answer is often yes! During the winter, grass does not stop growing entirely but grows at a slower pace. Of course, this depends on your location and the winter temperature. Because of this, it is good to follow some guidelines to take good care of your Lawn during the winter season.
Mowing Lawn in winter, this is how you keep your Lawn in perfect shape and be ready for spring:
Keeping your Lawn in good condition can be challenging during the winter. Also, during the winter, your grass will grow, only slower. If the length is such that mowing is needed, check the soil temperature and weather conditions. A wet lawn is one of the winter problems, but do not forget the soil compaction, dehydration, snow molds, and psychological drought. Winter is the perfect time for aerating, maintaining the soil’s pH level, mowing, raking, maintaining your Equipment, watering, and weeding your Lawn.
This article will give you some useful tips that you can implement to make the best out of your garden. You will also learn the dos and don’ts when caring for your Lawn in the winter season to protect it from problems like drainage, nutrition deficiency, and several diseases.
- 1 Winter Lawn Care Tips
- 2 Winter Lawn Care Essentials
- 3 Final Word
Winter Lawn Care Tips
You can do a few things to ensure that your Lawn will be lush green when the spring season arrives. To have a healthy-looking lawn, you should start taking care of your lawn during the winter. The needed lawn care depends upon where you live and the kind of grass you have. Here are some useful tips that will help you protect your Lawn during the winter.
● Always Prepare Beforehand
The first and foremost thing to keep in mind as a lawn owner is to take care of the Lawn all year round. You should prepare your lawn one season ahead. For example, your winter lawn should be prepared by the end of the fall season, which usually begins by the end of October (or earlier/later, depending on your location). This saves you from a lot of hassle and pain that might arise later in the winter.
● Mowing Height
Mowing height should always be maintained. It depends upon the season and the type of grass you grow. Ideally, the warm seasoned grass is kept shorter than the cold-season grass. Warm-season grass length is kept from 1.5 to 2 inches tall in the winter, whereas cold-season grass is kept at 2.5 inches. Cutting the blades too short makes the grass go hungry by not having enough space to photosynthesize, and having them too high will make the frost stay for too long. In both ways, the health of the grass will be affected.
● Avoid cutting too short
Cutting grass too short can also damage the health of the Lawn. If it is too short, it becomes difficult for the grass to absorb nutrients and sunlight, thus turns into yellow-brown. It also makes the turf more prone to drought stress and invasion by weeds. If you want to decrease the grass’s height, start by mowing one-third of the grass at a time. If your grass is three inches tall, you should only cut one inch when trimming it and gradually take it down to your desired height.
When taking care of the Lawn during the winter season, it is preferred to mow your lawn every 3 to 4 weeks depending upon the soil’s temperature and the growth of the grass. The basic principle is to make the blades of the grass stand upright so that each grass strand gets the maximum sunlight. Besides that, long grass can collect moisture and cause fungal disease. It can also welcome mice and other unwanted critters, which can damage the grass.
● Avoid Mowing Wet Lawn
Avoid mowing a wet lawn in the winter. It not only damages the grass but also ruins the health of the soil. When the Lawn is wet, the grass stick’s blades stick together and do not stand upright. When you mow the Lawn in this condition, the grass will be cut unevenly. The Lawn will look untidy and bumpy, thus making you repeat the whole process all over again.
● Avoid Mowing Frosty Grass
Avoid mowing when the grass is frosty, even when the grass itself is frost tolerant. Each grass blade is made up of cells that contain organs that float in a water protection barrier. When this water freezes, it doesn’t affect the grass directly. However, when external pressure is put on the frozen grass, in the form of walking on it, or pressure from the mower, it can damage the grass’s cells. And it can even eventually die.
● Remove clippings
Removing most of the cuttings left from the mower is an essential part of mowing in the winter. When too many clippings are left behind in the Lawn, they block the air passage and the sun rays to reach the soil. In most other seasons, the clippings are often bagged or mulched to be used in a compost pile or left on the Lawn for decomposition. However, this is less effective in the winter season. Often the morning hues and frosty nights cause these clippings to clump together. Thus, not allowing the air and sunlight to pass through the grass. Leaving some mulch is fine, but it should not be a more significant layer.
Winter Lawn Care Essentials
Winter lawn care is as necessary as you care for your lawn during the growing season. Here are some of the steps you need to take to make your lawn look lush and healthy.
The soil underneath the grass becomes compacted due to various activities or the use of machinery. If it is compacted too much, it can damage both the grass and the soil and lead to poor nutrient intake by the roots. Apart from that, a layer of thatch is a composition of living organisms and debris formed on the grass. It is healthy for the grass up to one inch, but it blocks the air passage and water penetration, contributing to drainage issues when it is increased.
The answer to both these problems is aeration. It makes holes into the soil below the grass to allow air and water penetration. This can be done manually or with the help of power aerating tools. It can be done in all seasons. However, in winters, be careful not to do it when the grass is frozen.
● Salt Damage
Many people use salt for de-icing driveways or other parts where you walk. This can damage the grass and cause a ‘physiological drought,’ it is a condition in which the plants cannot absorb enough nutrients and water. It is recommended not to use sodium chloride but find alternatives, such as calcium chloride, that can clear up the walkways. Never compile the snow from the sides on the grass. It might contain salt residue.
Fertilizing in winters is the ideal time to balance out the pH level of your soil. A balanced pH level is essential for a healthy-looking lawn; if it is too acidic to too alkaline, the nutrients won’t be absorbed properly. The ideal pH level for the Lawn is 6.5, and you can check the levels by doing a soil test.
● Clean and maintain your Equipment
Winter is the perfect time to give your mower its needed maintenance and deep cleaning that you have been setting aside for some time. Now is the right time to sharpen blades for smooth cutting of the grass, check the height adjustment gear, and replace any old and rusty parts. Follow the guidelines based on the type of mower you own.
● Soil Compaction
Compaction of the soil disrupts the growth of the grass that leads to drainage problems. In addition to the salt damage, the weight of the sown can also damage the soil. Refrain from dumping the snow on one side of the lawn. If you have no other option, spread the snow evenly so that it can melt quickly and there is less pressure on the soil.
When you walk on the grass when it is wet or frozen, it sticks together due to the pressure and closes the passage of the soil particles. It will not allow the water, air, and nutrients to pass deeply to the roots and eventually damages the health of the Lawn. Try to have a proper walking track to and from your house so that the visitors do not walk on the grass.
● Mowing in winters
It is fine if you could not give your Lawn the final trim before the cold weather dived in to wait for a dry day in the winter season. In winter, your lawn does not require frequent mowing as the rest of the year. The tricky part is to find the right weather conditions. Ensure that your Lawn is dry and not frozen before you decide on mowing it.
Winter is the right time to clean and left autumn leaves before the snow comes in. Remove unwanted junk or waste from the Lawn as well. The Lawn must be clean if you are planning to mow it. While you walk on the Lawn to remove debris, you will see if the soil is dried enough for mowing. Your Lawn should be clean anyway, even if the ground is wet.
● Watering in winters
Proper watering is crucial for the grass in all seasons. Your grass needs at least 1″-1 ½” of water per week, all year -round, even in the winter. If you notice winter drought, make sure to water your Lawn on the days when temperatures are above 40°F. Watering in winter not only saves the grass from dehydration but also prevents it from the damage caused by the microscopic, cool-season clover mite that harms the turf.
● Weeding in winters
Weeds grow in all seasons and make weeding an essential part of lawn care. You should remove these unwelcome and unwanted plants from the grass before becoming stronger and forming a strong foothold. The best way to control weeds in the Lawn is to take care of your Lawn regularly. Mow your lawn at an appropriate height and water the lawn consistently. You can remove the weed either by plucking them or use an alternative method of pre-emergent weed killer. When starting the treatment with weed killer, make sure that the temperature of the soil is suitable
Winter is a tricky time for lawn care. You have to be careful and conscious about your Lawn. But even in the winter, your grass will still grow, only slower. It is also more prone to long-term damage.
When needed, mowing is when your grass is fine, but it is not required as frequently as during the rest of the year. In winter, the focus shits from mowing more towards the condition of the soil and grass. By following the steps mentioned above, you will protect your lawn from the harsh weather.
Keeping your Lawn in perfect shape requires patience and preparation, and a little bit of dedication. Make your grass greener and your spring lawn care check-list shorter, and you will pat yourself on the back for stepping outside of your comfy home.