During the winter season, there isn’t much to mow or to weed out since most of the plants become dormant throughout the cold period. However, this should not justify a complete abandonment of your property. For the lawn to be evergreen as soon as spring arrives, you should know how to conduct lawn care in winter. With the right winter maintenance, all of your plants should survive the unforgiving weather.
Knowing The Effects Of Winter
First of all, you need to know why your lawn needs sufficient protection for the incoming winter season. You see, many lawn owners have warm-season grasses planted in their properties. On sunny days, these types of grasses will thrive. In contrast, these grass varieties will have a significantly slow growth once the cold weather comes in.
Now with the reduced pace of growth, these warm-weather grasses can suffer discoloration. Aside from this, they will have a difficult time in terms of plant repair and regrowth. As your plants receive more shade, cooler soil temperatures, and a decrease in sunlight, they will be quite vulnerable to the harsh elements.
To limit grassland damage after a snowfall, you can purchase a one-stage or two-stage snowblower and store it in your shed before winter arrives. After only 3 days, the bottom layer of snow will gradually transform into ice, damaging the roots of the grass. Using a snow blower regularly is the best way to keep the grass surface well-ventilated and to take advantage of the sunlight.
Mowing And Pruning
One common misconception is that winter lawn care should begin only when the season arrives. In truth, preparing your lawn for this period should start earlier than that. As soon as the first frost makes it way to your area or it’s the final phase of the summer season, the blade height of your lawnmower should be lowered.
However, lowering the blade height should be done gradually with each succeeding mowing operation. This will prevent plants from experiencing shock. Since the grass blades will have a reduced height, rodents and other pests won’t be able to use them as a cover and as a nesting area during winter. Likewise, rodents won’t be able to dig up huge portions of grass or even develop dead spots around your lawn.
Another lawn care practice to be conducted is pruning. During the autumn season, you should begin to sufficiently prune both trees and bushes in your lawn. They should not be overgrown during winter. Otherwise, they will have too much shade and have dried sections that might not recover once the cold season ends.
Aside from lowering the mowing height and pruning the bushes and trees, you must also aerate your lawn before the first frost arrives. This prevents your soil from easily undergoing compaction in the winter. Additionally, you should apply fertilizer during this period. This is an important step because this will keep your grass properly fed with nutrients throughout winter.
With the decreased growth rate and overall plant activity, the applied fertilizer will stay longer around the grass blades as they go down deeper toward the roots with each passing inch of snow above. The nutrients coming from this fertilizer application should compensate for the nutrient loss during the hot summer season. One important thing to remember is to aerate and fertilize your lawn in a crisscross pattern so the green grass won’t appear in straight lines next season.
If you have cool-season grass varieties, it is best to fertilize them either during early winter or just before the fall season ends. A good portion of lawns in North America has Bermuda grass and bluegrass, which are both cool-season grasses. If you have those grasses, be sure to fertilize at the appropriate time.
Getting Rid Of Weeds
Once the winter season sets in, broadleaf weeds will spread more easily compared to other weed varieties. What’s worse is that your lawn will have a lowered resistance to these broadleaf weeds due to the cold weather. Thus, prevention is much better than cure in this situation. Even before winter arrives, make sure that you’ve dug out or killed these weeds.