lawn with snow on top of it

How To Prepare A Lawn For Winter

Follow These Tips To Maximize Your Lawn’s Health This Winter

In order to prepare a lawn for winter, a few steps must be taken. Whether your lawn looked like the best on the block, or worst on the block, getting a lawn ready for the winter is very important. It might help to first take inventory of the property. 

Ask the following questions before preparing the lawn for winter:

  • Does the lawn have patchy spots where grass is missing?
  • Is the lawn still covered in leaves?
  • What is the general color of the grass?
  • Is the lawn mostly weeds or onion grass?
  • Has the lawn been aerated or overseeded in the last two years?
  • Has the lawn been fertilized?
brown patchy lawn caused by thatch

If the answer to these questions are no, consider changing that. We have written numerous times about the importance of leaf cleanup, aeration, overseeding, and fertilizing so check those articles out if you have not. But let’s start with the first bullet point.

If the lawn is bare, or missing grass, there could be a few reasons why. A lawn mower tire can leave divets in the rain which may cause serious damage to a given area. If the tracks are only a little brown, and not sunken in deep, the lawn will recover fine. If the area is missing grass because of shade, you may be fighting an uphill battle trying to grow grass, but I will attach an article in which we talk about grass growing in the shade here. If the patch of grass has been damaged by equipment or foot traffic, an aeration, overseeding, and fertilizing protocol should be followed in the fall, but can also be done in the spring and will yield good results. 

Fall and Spring Leaf Cleanup

Leaves left on a lawn will certainly damage the lawn come spring. Leaves if mulched up on a lawn, however, are good for your lawn. Compost is organic material grounded so finely that it becomes soil or soil-like. Compost is amazing for lawns and gardens, so leaves that are mulched up finely can be great for a lawn. All that is needed for this is a mulching mower (any lawn mower that has a side discharge). 

Either get a leaf cleanup service to remove the leaves or mulch them up. If the leaves are left on a lawn, they will block sunlight from grass which will kill it, and they will retain too much moisture which invites disease and insects to plague the lawn come spring.

The Color Of Your Lawn/ Fertilizing

Depending on the grass type, the color of the lawn can tell you a lot. If the grass is white and very thick, that’s zoysia grass and you should not be worried that it’s dead. Zoysia grass is a southern grass that goes dormant in November and turns white. Kentucky Bluegrass and Ryegrass will be a dark green color and look nice during the winter. If the grass has a light green or yellowish fade to it, it might need some fertilizer. A nitrogen rich fertilizer is best for this time of the year. Look on a fertilizer bag for something with a 24-0-0 Label for maximum results. 

Aeration and Overseeding

If the lawn hasn’t been aerated or overseeded in the past few years, definitely consider having this done. Unfortunately the lawn is too compact and frozen now in December as this blog is written, but this can be done in the Spring. The aeration will loosen the soil for the new seeds, and provide it a strong foundation for germination. Water the lawn lightly each day for ten days, and soon the lawn will begin to have new life.

Excessive Weeds On The Lawn

In order to get the lawn free of weeds, chemicals are going to need to be applied. I recommend using a granular fertilizer/herbicide combination. The stronger herbicides are not over the counter and can only be purchased by licensed applicators, but an amazing lawn can be achieved by using over the counter granular herbicides. The key here is to apply early in the season. Buy the generic Weed N’ Feed or whichever brand you prefer, and apply early in the Spring before the weed seeds can germinate. Apply the recommended dose per 1,000 sqft of the property.

Hopefully these tips can help with preparing the lawn for winter, although some of the steps need to be done in the spring. If you enjoyed this article, share it with a friend!