It’s Time to Start Prepping Your Lawn for Winter
How to Properly Prepare Your Lawn for Winter – The Essential Measures to Take
Clear Out Your Lawn
One of the best parts of having a lawn is that you can use it as a kind of recreational area. Kids and pets can play on it. If it’s a particularly nice day, you can relax on your lawn furniture and enjoy the cool breeze.
That’s true for most of the year. When wintertime rolls around, your lawn should no longer be a central hub for activities. It should be just the opposite.
Part of effective lawn care in St. Louis is clearing out your lawn prior to the start of winter. Remove everything you can as you run a check on your lawn.
Look for toys that your kids and pets may have left behind and if you did set up some pieces of lawn furniture previously, it’s now time to place them into storage. Other objects such as larger pieces of wood and rocks should be removed from your lawn if you spot them.
So, why do you have to clear out your lawn so thoroughly? Basically, you’re doing this for two reasons.
First off, removing all foreign objects on your lawn will make it easier for you to carry out procedures such as lawn aeration later on.
The other reason is that objects left on the lawn for the duration of winter can seriously affect growth. You may end up with certain patches of soil that are simply not supporting grass growth as they should. As a result, your lawn could end up looking uneven when the blades of grass start growing in.
Condition the Lawn for Growth in the Spring
Your lawn won’t be thriving and growing over the course of the winter. The conditions for that are simply not ideal.
Since your lawn isn’t going to be in prime condition for at least a few more months, what you can do instead is to condition it properly for that time of the year. What that means is that you should prepare your lawn in such a way that it can both withstand the winter months and position itself for ample growth once the conditions become more favorable.
To accomplish that, you will need to complete various turf maintenance tasks and it starts with simply mowing your lawn.
Take Advantage of Your Remaining Mowing Window
Mowing is an essential part of any lawn care in St. Louis regimen. Now, mowing your lawn during the winter is not automatically a bad idea.
In certain areas where the temperature does not drop too much and the weather remains relatively mild, blades of grass may still continue to grow during the winter and necessitate consistent upkeep in the form of mowing.
That’s obviously not the case everywhere though.
There are also areas where the winters can be particularly harsh, thus slowing down the growth of grass significantly. The winter climate can also cause moisture and even frost to form on the individual blades of grass. Once that happens, you should steer clear of mowing altogether because it is just going to do more harm than good to your lawn.
For those reasons, you should really take the time to mow your lawn during the fall season.
When the time does come to mow your lawn, you should be mindful of how short you cut the grass. Cutting it too short can leave your lawn exposed to the elements, thus damaging it and potentially affecting how conducive it is to growth in the coming months. Leaving it too long is obviously not an option, because doing so will just make it look unkempt.
The best thing you can do here is to research the specific type of grass you have growing on your lawn and then check to see how far down you can trim it. Some variants of grass can be trimmed to 3/4 of an inch.
Whatever the minimum recommended length is for the grass, be sure to go no further than that. By keeping the grass at the right length, you can adequately protect your lawn while also keeping it presentable throughout the winter ahead.
Lastly, don’t mow your lawn just once prior to the start of winter. If the blades of grass have gotten very tall and you trim them down to size in one go, there’s a good chance that they will be adversely affected.
It would be better for you to gradually trim your lawn over the course of the fall season and then cut it down to your target length right before the winter season gets underway.
Perform Lawn Aeration
Mowing is just one of the elements of comprehensive lawn care in St. Louis regimen. Once you’re done with the mowing, you need to look into aeration.
Lawn aeration is an important part of the turf maintenance process.
According to The Spruce, the main purpose of lawn aeration is to open up the soil in your yard so that it can better receive the water and air coming in. The aforementioned practice is particularly helpful if the soil in your yard features plenty of clay content or if it has become compacted.
You can carry out lawn aeration at different points of the year, but doing so just before the start of the winter is a good move for a few reasons. For one, the cooler temperatures will prevent the soil from drying out as it is opened up. On top of that, opening the soil up at this point in the year prevents it from being compacted as your lawn will receive very little foot traffic come wintertime.
Before you get started with the lawn aeration process, you should first water the grass. DIY Network recommends hydrating the lawn with at least an inch of water throughout about a couple of days ahead of lawn aeration.
Watering the soil before lawn aeration will soften it up and thus make it easier for the aerator to do its job properly. During the lawn aeration process itself, you only need to go over the soil once.
Start Preparing the Lawn for Seeds
You’ve now mowed your lawn and aerated it too, so what’s next?
At this point, you can now turn your attention to prepping the lawn for seeds. Usually, this involves the usage of compost and fertilizer.
Starting with the compost, This Old House recommends using some cured compost. The compost should already be cool so that it doesn’t end up doing damage to your lawn.
Spread the cured compost throughout your lawn. Half an inch of it over the span of your lawn should be enough.
After spreading the compost, the next step in the lawn care in St. Louis routine calls for the introduction of fertilizer. Check out what kind of soil you have in your yard before deciding what kind of fertilizer to use. You should also spread the fertilizer evenly across your lawn.
Distribute Seeds Across Your Lawn
With the lawn mowed, aerated, and covered with compost and fertilizer, you can now move ahead to distributing the seeds. The main thing you want to accomplish here is to simply distribute the seeds evenly over your lawn.
To make things easier on yourself, you can go ahead and use a power overseeder as part of your lawn care in St. Louis routine.
Monitor the Seeds
You can continue to work on your lawn as long as the winter season has not started yet. In this case, you will want to continue keeping watch over your lawn to ensure that the spreads you distributed will grow as expected.
Helping the seeds grow is simple enough. You can do your part by watering them regularly. A small amount of water provided at various points of the day should be enough.
As soon as you see the seeds start to sprout, you can concentrate your efforts into one prolonged watering session per day. Keep that up until the start of the winter to give the blades of grass the best chance to hold up over the next few months.
Because you want to give the seeds a chance to sprout, you should start your winter lawn care in St. Louis regimen early on in the fall season.
Conduct a Final Cleanup of Your Lawn
Closer to the start of the winter season, you should perform a final cleanup of your lawn. Again, this is an important part of turf maintenance because you don’t want there to be any patches showing up on your lawn come springtime.
This time around, you should do more than just remove foreign objects on top of your lawn. You should also rake the leaves, bag them up, and dispose of them properly.
Keep an eye out for any standing puddles as well. Chances are that you won’t be watching over your lawn as much during the winter so you may miss any abnormalities emerging because of standing water. By neglecting to address the stagnant water, you could turn your lawn into a breeding ground for insects and mold.
While you’re at it, you can go ahead and turn off your sprinklers too if you live in a colder area. In most cases, winter lawn care in St. Louis doesn’t necessitate the usage of sprinklers because of the moisture in the air.
Should there be a stretch of unusual warmth during the winter season, you can turn on the sprinklers for a short while.
Avoid Plowing the Snow That Has Fallen on Your Lawn
One of the common mistakes homeowners make is removing the snow that has piled up on top of their lawn. It’s easy to understand why many people make that mistake though.
Many assume that because snow is cold, it could hamper the growth of the grass and even ruin the soil. That’s not the case.
If anything, snow is even beneficial to your lawn. When the snow starts to pile on top of the soil, it can effectively serve as a kind of barrier. The roots, in particular, receive plenty of protection from the layers of snow that have fallen on the soil.
Another bonus to having snowfall on your lawn is that it provides hydration for the plants. The gradually melting snow can take the place of the water that usually comes from your sprinklers.
Proper lawn care in St. Louis and in other areas that experience snowfall involves simply leaving the cold stuff alone.
Try to Steer Clear of Your Lawn during the Winter
The final lawn care in St. Louis tip is one that should prove quite easy to follow. As much as possible, you should keep your turf maintenance work to a minimum while winter is in full swing.
The reality is that you are more likely to do more harm than good to your lawn during this time of the year. Even just running on the lawn could lead to significant damage being dealt with the soil.
Raking away the leaves and removing other debris that may have fallen on your lawn is fine, but try to limit what you do to that. If more extensive lawn care is needed, you can wait until the spring.
The winter season can be a trying time for your lawn, but that’s only true if you failed to prepare it properly. The tips above should ensure that your lawn will remain in great shape heading into and throughout the winter.
When springtime rolls around, you will be able to see all that prep work pay off. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a time to get your lawn aerated, contact us.