Winter Lawn Care Tips

winter lawn care tips
Credit: Lorianne DiSabato, FlickrCC

Although the winter season is usually the dormant grass season, there are still plenty of things to do to care for your lawn. Cold winters can do incredible damage to a yard if the proper precautions . Check out these winter lawn care tips to ensure that your lawn is ready to bounce back come spring.

Clear It Away

One of the easiest ways to care for your lawn this winter is to clear off anything that could damage the grass underneath. Damaging items include any outdoor furniture or semi-permanent structures that you won’t be using in the winter. Clear away childrens’ toys as well as any tools that you have been using around the yard. Anything that is allowed to sit on the grass all winter long can create a dead spot and will need to be attended too once spring arrives.

Mow It Short

Missing the last mow before winter weather hits your area can be devastating for a lawn. Higher grass lengths can create the perfect environment for disease and pests later on. The mess of foliage will stay wet long after winter weather clears away and can become a breeding ground for problems. Make one last mow before frost sets in to deter this problem.

Overseed Warm-Season Grasses

Homeowners who live in the southern portions of the country may have a warm-season grass that begins to go dormant during the winter. According to a guide from Wikilawn, warm-season grass varieties, like Zoysia Grass or Bermudagrass, turn brown during the winter due to the colder temperatures. Consider overseeding these lawns with cool season grass varieties, like Kentucky Bluegrass or Perennial Ryegrass, to keep the lawn green all winter long.

Mulch Last Leaves

You have probably already raked or mulched the leaves in your yard from the fall, but there are bound to be a few last leaves that will sit on your lawn all winter. Make sure to clear away these leaves by mulching them into the yard for extra nutrients. You can go over them during your last mow or consider renting a leaf mulcher if there are many leaves still left in your yard. Mulching the leaves helps to return their nitrogen into the soil creating a more stable soil condition for further growth.

Care for Bare Spots

If your home is in a warmer climate where winter weather doesn’t bring snow and ice, consider tending to bare spots that were overlooked before. These spots will be empty or thinning parts of the lawn that can quickly be attacked by weeds. Rake the areas out and spread a thin layer of grass seed over them. Water frequently and make sure to pay extra attention to the spots as the seedlings germinate and take root. Seeding bare spots should take place at least three weeks before the first frost hits in your area to allow time for grass to germinate and take hold.

Tread Lightly

Homeowners who see a lot of cold winter weather will need to remember to tread lightly on snow-covered grass this season. Creating paths in the yard that will see a rise of foot traffic can significantly damage the frozen grass underneath. Use walkways around the yard to get to the desired areas and try to avoid trampling the grass too much during the winter. A little bit of activity should be okay but abusing one area of the lawn over and over again during the winter can cause a dead patch to develop later on.

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Taking care of your lawn is essential during the winter to keep it healthy and active for future growth. Don’t walk on snow-covered lawns too much and clear away anything that could cause a potential dead spot. Mow the grass short and consider overseeding trouble spots with more grass seed if winter hasn’t quite arrived in your area. Overseed warm season grasses and mulch any last leaves that are leftover from the fall season. Doing all of these winter lawn care tips will help create a beautiful lawn once spring arrives.

Tony Steine is a garden and landscaping writer. Tony prides himself on finding the easiest way to do anything he can, you can bet he’s tried to make his entire garden self-watering. Of course, he isn’t just about convenience either, adding a unique design flair to everything he does.