It’s common to spend the spring, summer and fall landscaping and maintaining your yard and garden. It can be disappointing when the upcoming winter has the potential to threaten your gardening efforts, including flowers, trees and shrubs. However, winter doesn’t have to be damaging if you properly prepare your lawn and landscaping ahead of the season. In fact, when you prepare your lawn for winter you’ll save yourself time and effort in the spring. Here’s how:
Don’t stop mowing in the fall just because your lawn may not be growing as much or as rapidly. Towards the end of the season, lower your lawn mower’s blade so the grass is cut extra short during the last few sessions before the winter. The purpose of this is to allow more sunlight reaching the crown of the grass. Since the blades of grass are shorter, there is less grass leftover that will brown over the winter.
Tip: Never cut the grass too short all at once. Gradually lower the blade over time before you perform the final cuts of the season.
It is very important to rake fallen leaves off your lawn in the fall. This can sometimes be a daunting and time consuming task but it is a critical step in your winter lawn maintenance process.
It is best if you rake the leaves gradually as they fall rather than waiting for the trees to be bare. As leaves become wet they stick together and become weighed down on the lawn. This can suffocate the grass and cause fungal diseases and mold spores to spread.
Tip: If you really don’t enjoy raking leaves, try using a lawnmower that has a collection bag or vacuum system. This can be very helpful in large yards when you collect and bag leaves.
Aerating your lawn helps oxygen, water and fertilizer reach the roots easily. Aerators, which punch holes in the soil, are easy to use. Aerating your lawn in the cool season is ideal as the grass is becoming dormant and can heal or fill in any open areas
Tip: If you do not want to purchase an aerator yourself, you can rent one at a fairly affordable cost. However, if you have a large yard you should consider hiring a landscaping company to assist you.
The fall is the perfect time to touch up your lawn. Scan the yard for spots where the grass may have become thin or areas where weeds are bad and deal with them before the first snowfall.
Tip: Find a lawn repair mixture that makes touching up the grass easier and quicker.
Finally, it is crucial that you store your equipment, seeds and fertilizers properly. These are delicate tools and products that can become damaged if they are not properly stored. Remember to clean and sharpen your tools before you store them. You want them to be ready the next time you need to use them!
Tip: Make sure that you store seeds and fertilizers in a dark and cool environment, preferably in bags or bins that are tightly sealed.
When you perform winter lawn maintenance in the fall before the snow starts to fly your lawn will be better prepared to withstand the harshness of winter.