Maintaining a healthy lawn requires year-round attention and care. While winter may seem like a time when you can give your lawn (and your back) a break, there are actually several winter lawn care steps you can take to help ensure a lush, green lawn come spring and a drought-tolerant and hardly lawn come summer, especially if you want to beat the neighbors. Here are some tips on what you can do in the winter to help your lawn be healthier in the spring and summer.

Keep The Lawn Clear of Debris

One of the easiest winter lawn care steps you can take to help your lawn in the winter is to keep it clear of debris such as leaves, branches, and other debris. Not only can this debris smother and damage the grass, but it can also create a breeding ground for pests and diseases that can harm your lawn. Tarps, toys, or other non-native items often are left all winter only to show dead grass patches come spring.

Watch For Lawn Pests & Diseases

It’s also important to keep an eye out for pests and diseases that can affect your lawn during the winter. Some common pests include grubs, which can damage the roots of your grass, and voles, which can chew on the blades of grass. To control these pests, you can use pesticides or bait traps. Another common disease that can affect lawns during the winter is snow mold. This is caused by snow or ice being left on the grass for long periods of time, which can cause the grass to turn yellow or brown. To prevent snow mold, you can rake the snow off your lawn regularly, or use a fungicide.

Winter Lawn Watering - Everything Exterior
Lawn Aeration - Everything Exterior

Aerate The Soil

Aerating your lawn in the winter can help to reduce soil compaction, which can impede the growth of roots and limit the flow of air, water, and nutrients to the grass. Aerating involves creating small holes in the soil to allow air and water to penetrate more deeply into the soil, which can improve root growth and overall lawn health. You can rent an aerator or hire a professional lawn care company to do this for you.

Limit Foot Traffic

During the winter months, it is best to limit foot traffic on your lawn as much as possible. The grass is dormant during this time, and foot traffic can cause damage to the grass blades and roots. If you must walk on your lawn, try to use a designated path or walkway to prevent damage to the grass.

Maintain Your Lawn Mower

Maintain your lawn mower and other equipment. Your lawn mower and other equipment are critical tools for keeping your lawn looking its best, so it’s important to make sure that they are well-maintained during the winter months. This includes cleaning and lubricating your equipment, changing the oil, and sharpening the blades. Additionally, you should make sure that your equipment is stored in a dry, well-ventilated place to prevent rust and other damage. Store your lawn equipment with ethanol-free gas and start them up once or twice in the winter and let them idle for a few minutes.

Seed Bare Patches

If you notice any bare or thin patches in your lawn, the winter is a great time to seed them. By seeding in the winter, you give the grass plenty of time to establish itself before the hot and dry conditions of summer arrive. Look for a high-quality grass seed that is appropriate for your region and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results. Grass seed will not sprout before temperatures allow, but seeding before this occurs makes sure that you don’t miss the perfect window of opportunity.

Fertilize In The Fall

Fertilize your lawn in the fall. Fertilizing your lawn in the fall is one of the most important steps you can take to prepare your yard for winter. This is because fall is the time when your lawn is actively growing and absorbing nutrients, which will help it to better withstand the harsh winter weather. Choose a fertilizer that is high in potassium and phosphorus, as these nutrients are essential for root growth and winter hardiness.

Prevent Winter Weeds

Prevent and treat winter weeds. Winter weeds can be a major problem for lawns, as they can quickly spread and take over your yard. To prevent winter weeds, you should make sure that your lawn is healthy and well-maintained. This includes mowing your grass to a shorter length before winter hits, keeping it free from leaves and other yard debris, and keeping it well-watered. (Hopefully, winter precipitation takes care of this but you may need to supplement a time or two in the winter months if needed.) To treat winter weeds, you can use a weed killer specifically formulated for winter use or use old-fashioned elbow grease and pull them out when you see them.

Water The Lawn As Needed

While you may not need to water your lawn as frequently in the winter as you do in the summer, it is still important to give your lawn a good drink of water every now and then. If there has been a long period without rain or snow, your lawn may start to dry out, and this can lead to damage and stress on the grass. Watering your lawn once a month should be sufficient during the winter months. Make sure to do it in the late morning to allow the surface water to dry before the cooler night temperatures hit.

Cut The Grass Shorter

During the winter, you should cut your grass a little shorter than you would in the spring and summer. This can help to prevent the grass from matting down and developing disease in wet or snowy weather. However, you should still avoid cutting your grass too short, as this can damage the roots and limit their ability to absorb nutrients and water.

Lawn Fertilization - Everything Exterior
Lawn In Winter - Everything Exterior

Remove Snow From The Lawn

If you live in an area that receives heavy snowfall, it is important to remove snow from your lawn to prevent damage to the grass. Snow can weigh down and smother the grass, and the weight of the snow can also cause soil compaction. Use a snow blower or shovel to clear the snow from your lawn and be sure to do it as soon as possible after the snowfall. This will for sure get a rise out of the neighbors but come July you’ll be getting the last laugh.

Watch The pH Level Of Your Soil

Another important aspect of winter lawn care is to keep an eye on the pH level of your soil. During the winter, the soil can become more acidic, which can inhibit the growth of your lawn. To check the pH level of your soil, you can use a pH test kit, which is readily available at most garden centers or online. If the pH level of your soil is too low, you can add lime to raise it (this is rare for Utah soil). If pH is too high then you will want to make it more acidic.

The Final Word on Winter Lawn Care

In conclusion, winter is a critical time for lawn care. Cold temperatures and harsh weather conditions can take a toll on your yard, but by following these tips, you can keep your lawn healthy and green throughout the winter months. Make sure to fertilize your lawn in the fall, protect it from snow and ice damage, prevent and treat winter weeds, maintain your lawn mower and other equipment, and prepare your lawn for spring and summer growth. With the right strategies and techniques, you’ll be able to maintain a beautiful lawn all year round.

Want to see if our advice works? See the picture to the right. It was taken on January 16, 2023 and shows the difference that can occur with a little extra lawn TLC.

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