Old Man Winter is bound to be knocking soon. Have you bedded your lawn for winter? Believe it or not, some simple maintenance can make your lawn easier to revive come spring. Proper pre-winter action can actually ensure a lush, healthy, amazing lawn when warm weather hits!
Food For Thought
Tender loving care is easy to dish out to your lawn. In fact, you can literally do so with a little fertilizing. Autumn is the best time to feed your lawn with some quality fertilizer. According to the Canadian Fertilizer Institute (CFI), you should choose a compost rich in necessary nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Fertilizing prior to the first snowfall will feed your lawn and assist in wintery weather survival. CFI recommends remembering the "four rights" of fertilizer use:
- The Right Source: Soil isn't the same everywhere. Before selecting a fertilizer, test your soil to determine its nutritional needs.
- The Right Rate: Even fertilizer distribution across your lawn is crucial. The amount required will vary based on your lawn's size and needs. When it comes to the reapplication rate, follow the recommendations found on the label of the fertilizer you choose.
- The Right Place: Fertilizer is no good if it stays in the bag or hits the wrong area. Apply it in the right place, which means evenly across your lawn. Areas where the grass is less nourished or suffering should receive a little extra attention and care.
- The Right Time: There are two times of year for fertilizing-the spring and the fall. Avoid applying fertilizer if your area is expecting heavy rain or snow. Once the ground freezes, it's too late to fertilize.
A Little TLC
When the temperatures turn brisk, it's common for homeowners to debate on proper lawn care. Do you continue to cut the grass or plant seed in "balding" spots on the lawn? Consider some of the following TLC ideas before winter hits:
- Continued Grooming: We groom our lawns by cutting them, and it can quickly feel as if we're spending the majority of our summer keeping up with mowing, trimming, and weed whacking. Just because the heat of summer is replaced by crisper fall temperatures, doesn't mean it's time to stop. Although the grass will grow slower, you should still keep cutting it until your lawn stops growing. In most regions, the growth halts around early November.
- Keep Watering: Did you know it's possible to starve your lawn of water during the autumn months? Even though winter is right around the corner, it's still important to water the lawn. As long as it's living, it needs water to build up its root system for the winter. If your lawn isn't getting enough water from rainfall, be sure to give it about half an inch of water each week to stave off a dry out.
- Give It Some Air: The autumn months are the perfect time to aerate your lawn. You'll need an aerator to give it some air. Start by cutting a test plug and measuring the thatch level. You're on the lookout for partially decomposed materials that are building up between the soil surface and the bottom of your grass. If this build up is greater than half an inch, you should definitely aerate your lawn. Aeration loosens soil compaction, thus allowing more light, air, and water to reach the soil. Healthy soil makes for healthy lawns. Letting your lawn breathe now will allow for much healthier soil come spring.
- Plant Some Seed: Autumn is one of the best times of year to repair those ugly balding spots in your yard. Summer times weeds will be dying off, unable to hinder the growth of new grass. While it's ideal to plant grass seed in early fall, as long as it has a few weeks to take root and establish itself before the first snow, it will be ready to revive in spring.
- Clean Up: The fall is a great time to prep your lawn for ample, healthy springtime growth. But it can just as easily be a season that decimates your grass come spring. It's important to clean up the yard before the first snow. Garden tools, tree leaves, and even children's toys can smother your lawn. Obstacles such as these stop your grass-and especially your soil-from receiving the nutrients they need. The more nourished your lawn is now, the better it will grow come spring.
Reap the Rewards
If you've bedded your lawn for the winter, you will have wisely prepared for the spring. When warmer temperatures banish the chill of winter, you'll be ready to enjoy your yard. Be sure to check out our top ten spring landscaping tips for plenty of ideas for your lawn.Posted by: TrustedPros