(guest post by Drew Bishop)
Lawn care is usually something people think of in terms of the spring and summer. However, if you want to ensure that your lawn stays as attractive and healthy as possible, year-round care is required. Winter can certainly be destructive to your lawn, and you should take precautions.
Even if it’s cold, there are certain things you should do to guarantee that your yard and your grass remain protected. If you do so, you’ll find that your lawn is even more beautiful and aesthetically pleasing in the spring after the snow thaws.
Keep Your Lawn Free of Debris
A lot of people tend to forget about their lawn after the first snowfall. The fact it becomes covered by snow may make it seem like there isn’t much that can be done to protect the lawn during that time-frame. However, if there are items and debris on your lawn before the first snowfall, it can certainly have a negative effect on the health of your lawn.
For example, a log that is left on your grass and then becomes covered by snow can create a significant “dead spot.” Grass in this spot will be thinner and stunted when compared to the rest of the grass in the lawn. These spots can certainly be ugly. Make sure your lawn is clear of all objects and debris before the first snowfall. Things like toys, sticks and furniture need to be removed.
Cut Your Grass Shorter Before the Winter
During the end of the summer and through the fall, you should be cutting your grass progressively shorter each time you mow. It should be the shortest the last time you mow your lawn before the winter.
While it may seem to be a good idea to keep your grass taller to keep it healthy, tall grass carries certain risks during the winter. Tall grass can be used by field mice and other rodents to build nests for hibernation. This will create dead spots as well as significant damage to grass that is pulled up to create the nests.
Fertilize Your Lawn for the Winter
Find out what kind of grass you have in your lawn. Many homeowners have no idea what kind of grass they have. However, this is information you should know to properly care for your yard. Chances are you have cool season grass like bluegrass or Bermuda. This is the case for most grass in the United States. If you have cool season grass, you should fertilize it either in late fall or early winter.
The reason you need to do so is to replenish the nutrients your grass can lose during the hot summer months. If you fertilize the grass before the first real freeze, that fertilizer will remain in the soil and feed the roots of your grass all winter long. In the spring, your lawn will be much more lush and healthy as a result.
Keep Off the Grass
After the last time you mow your lawn, it’s a very good idea to keep off your grass and instruct others to do so as well. While you may want to make allowances for your children playing in your yard, don’t have that many people walking on it apart from that. Grass that is walked on too much can certainly become damaged even while under snow. Instead, keep sidewalks shoveled and salted so no one has to walk on your lawn.
Spray for Grubs
Lawn grubs are another pest that could take advantage of your lawn during the long winter months. Lawn grubs, also sometimes referred to as white grubs, are the larval form of scarab beetles. These creepy crawlies can borough under the ground and feed on the roots of your grass. They can actually do an efficient job of killing decent portions of your lawn.
They get in under the ground in late fall and will spend winter munching on your grass. If you want to stop them, you better spray for lawn grubs before winter starts. You can find grub killer in any garden center of a department store. Two to three treatments over a ten-day period should be enough to do the job.
Last, you want to remove moss to prepare your lawn for the winter. Usually, moss will grow in parts of your lawn that are in the shade and do not receive as much sunlight. If you leave this moss alone, it will only get worse over the winter. Rake it out.
Doing so in late fall can be advantageous. During the fall and early winter, your trees will lose their leaves. This will allow portions of your lawn that were previously in the shade to receive a decent dose of sunlight. If you remove the moss, this can allow healthy grass to grow up in its place.
Editor’s note: Drew Bishop is a contributing writer and media specialist for Bradley Mowers. He often produces content for a variety of lawn-care and home improvement blogs.