A Caveat and Affiliates
First off, a little caveat: within my articles you will find affiliate links, meaning if you buy them, I get a small commission. Your cost is not affected. In addition, I am an Amazon Associate and I earn from qualifying purchases on Amazon.
And yes, if I say that I recommend a product here, it means I truly believe it is a good product. I refuse to recommend any product that I have not researched and believe to be a good value.
Even better, I provide you with a very clear picture of the product, it’s use, and the probable value.
Earning your trust is important to me. I run this website myself and the commissions and donations help support the site.
Sound reasonable and fair enough? Let’s continue to the article.
Northerners Get Ready For Winter Snow
As winters are just around the corner, you need to take extra care of your lawn to maintain its beauty. Here are the pro tips to prepare your backyard for winters!
It takes some effort to maintain a gorgeous backyard, but the right approach wholly depends on where you live. It is easy to keep a green backyard year-round for people living in warmer climates with mild winters. However, living in colder climates means you have to prepare your lawn for the harsh snowfall.
Early autumn is the perfect season to repair brown and dead spots and fertilizer to improve and maintain the greenness of your backyard. With a few straightforward steps given below, you will not only make sure that your lawn can endure the harsh snowfall, but you will also notice a significant improvement when spring comes back around.
So, how to prepare the backyard for winter?
Should You Cut Grass before Winter?
As you run down your fall checklist, make sure to give your backyard some love. Cutting the grass before winter (at the end of fall) is an excellent approach to bring hardy, green grass back for another year. If you don’t have a pre-winter backyard plan, here are a few tips to learn when and how to cut grass before winter.
Why Should you Cut Grass before Winter?
Trimming your backyard grass right before winter is a great approach to maintain its health throughout the winter. Not cutting the grass before winter, your backyard can develop mold and fungus. So, it is best to keep your lawn green by mowing the grass at the right time and to the right height.
The grass will keep sprouting as long as the climate is warm enough. It hits the cutoff point when the temperature falls below 50F during the day. It generally happened during late October and early November. However, areas with warmer climates may push the dates back to December.
How Short Should You Cut Grass?
During the wintertime, your backyard should be 2 to 3 inches high. That’s the perfect height because it’s not too short to be damaged by cold weather and not too high to attract snow mold. However, as you start bringing your backyard to the perfect height, make sure to prevent cutting too much at once.
Trimming the grass too short can make it go hungry over the winter. And it may take the spring season to recover from the shock. So, a good rule of thumb is not to cut one-third of the grass height in one mow. Moreover, make sure to spread the trims out to make your backyard withstand a shorter height.
Last Time to Cut Grass before Winter
The last time to cut grass before winter depends on when you will get the season’s first frost. Then you can plan accordingly to mow your backyard two to three times. Also, make sure to decrease the blade’s height each time you mow the grass.
How to Maintain Lawn in Winter?
Probably, one of the unhappiest sights for gardening enthusiasts is seeing their lawn grass going dormant in winter. You can oversee cool-season ryegrass in southern areas to maintain your lawn greenness. However, it is an arduous task for northerners to maintain a green lawn. So, the only thing they can do is to wait for spring.
However, it doesn’t mean that you cannot maintain your lawn in winters to keep it green. Here are a few winter lawn care tricks that you can try:
1. Cut Off the Water
Firstly, your lawn doesn’t need as much water as it does over the summer. So, you have to change your irrigation schedule, and it will depend on your location. Regardless of whether you have cool weather or warm weather, you have to change your water usage over the colder temperatures.
That said, here are a couple of weather specifics for winter backyard water usage:
Halt irrigation completely. For northerners, make sure to abandon using sprinklers as your lawn doesn’t need them in winter. Additionally, if they just go off before a freeze, your backyard will turn into a sheet of ice.
Moreover, make sure to drain your sprinklers to avoid pipe freeze and burst. There are sprinkler systems that feature auto-draining valves. If you are unsure and cannot drain your sprinkler system on your own, contact the manufacturer.
If you live in warmer climates and want to maintain your lawn in winter, make sure to reduce your irrigation. Since you are no longer battling the heat, your backyard does not need to be watered more often.
In most cases, watering your lawn with the same regularity as you did over the summer can cause more harm than good by making your lawn over-saturated. Having automatic sprinkles makes the job easy for you as you can easily change the irrigation schedule.
However, for manual sprinkle systems, do a quick check and make sure that your lawn needs water before you turn on the spigot.
2. Keep your Backyard Clean
During fall, leaves can pile up and cause your lawn to suffocate before winter. Also, leaves that leave in the backyard could become wet and invite diseases. If the leaves aren’t too damp or thick, use the mower to mulch into pieces. It will help recycle nutrients back into your landscape. However, if the leaves are too wet or thick, you should remove them.
3. Test Your Soil pH
Regardless of your location, you should be aware of the pH of your soil to maintain lawns in winter. For excessively acidic soils, it becomes hard to get essential nutrients for the grass. However, since most lawns grow slowly or go dormant in winters, the late fall is the ideal time to check the pH of your soil.
For checking pH by yourself, you may want to buy a pH meter. They are readily available and cost around $50. Having your pH meter means you will save money in the long run. Alternatively, if you don’t want to buy a pH meter, you can send your soil sample for testing.
So, what is the perfect pH soil? Well, an ideal soil pH should be ranging 6 to 7. Anything lower than that means the soil is acidic. The best treatment you can give an acidic lawn is lime. You can treat your lawn with lime using the powdered or granular method. Generally, granular lime is straightforward to distribute and work slowly, making it perfect for winters.
However, if your soil pH is over 7, it means your lawn is alkaline. You can add compost and mulch to balance it. Another way is to apply elemental sulfur no more than 2 pounds each 100 square feet.
4. Feeding Lawns in Winter
Feeding lawns in winter is crucial. Hold the handle like a trigger to release pellets while moving the fertilizer machine back and forth over the grass. Moreover, also make sure to read the instructions on the fertilizer package and do not exceed the amount recommended on it. Applying excessive fertilizer can quickly burn your lawn grass.
5. Aerate the Lawn
Aerating lawns in winter is essential as it provides extra air to the grassroots. The soil is often compact at the end of winter, so your landscape will love good aeration. However, be careful of any secretive irrigation lines when aerating. In this regard, you can use a spade to get rid of soil spikes across the lawn to dig holes for seed plantation. If your landscape is spacious, you can use a manual aerator or rent a motorized one.
During dry winter, it is good to add a wetting agent that helps attract water to the soil and improves its health.
6. Plant Cool-Season Grass Seeds
Ever heard about cool-weather or cool-season grass seeds? Well, they are readily available at nurseries. When buying grass seeds, read the package that should say “cool weather” or “cool season.” To sprinkle these seeds, you can use the same spreader you used for fertilizing. Moreover, make sure to sprinkle the seeds evenly to avoid having grass clumps.
7. Remove Weeds
Another critical factor in maintaining your lawn in winter is to remove weeds. During cold temperatures, weeds exploit your lawn’s weakened state and fill every possible gap. Often appearing in April and May, winter weeds take root at lower soil temperatures.
Common weeds, such as Broad-Leafed and Bindi Burr are relatively easy to control using a selective herbicide. Winter is perfect for herbicides to remove these invaders without damaging your lawn soil. However, make sure to read the product label to ensure it is safe for your grass.
8. Less Watering
Do not water your landscape if the grass is dry and the leaves are wilting. However, if it is essential to water your lawn in winter, water it early in the morning. Overwatering your landscape will only help leave your grass vulnerable to fungi.
9. Limit Traffic and Debris
A vital step to maintain your lawn in winter is to avoid causing any harm to it. Make sure to limit foot traffic when the temperature drops. Moreover, remove piles of leaves and other debris more frequently. It will help unblock the sunlight to your grass during cold temperatures.
The frozen turn is more vulnerable to cracks and can become shredded. So try to prevent using chemical deicers on the driveway and sidewalk. It is because these agents can leach into your backyard, causing severe damage to the grass root system.
10. Top Dress Your Lawn
Topdressing your lawn is an effective way to prepare your lawn for winter. It requires adding a layer of compost on the top of your backyard grass to maintain its green color until the spring arrives. Using a nutrient-rich organic material also helps to improve the health and quality of the soil and roots, making the grass thrive.
The process will also help improve soil aeration, lessen compaction issues, and allow the soil to consume essential minerals and microbes it needs.
11. Prune Trees and Shrubs
Another tip for maintaining your lawn in winter is to prune trees and shrubs. Not only will it help to keep trees healthy, but a neatly-pruned landscape is also easier on your lawn. Overgrown shrubs and trees will block the sun, leaving some parts of your yard sun-starved come spring.
You can also consult with your local garden center about the ideal pruning time for particular plants. Different trees and shrubs need to be pruned at different times.
Should You Much Your Lawn Before Winter?
Mulching is an ideal way to reduce the need for water, build soil, and control weeds. Plus, it is also great to protect your plants from harsh weather. You spread or lay minerals over the soil surface during the process, which acts as a protective cover.
As they decompose, organic mulches, such as grass clippings, chipped or shredded bark, and composted manure fertilizes the soil. You can begin the winter mulching process in the fall and after the leaves have fallen from the trees.
The amount of mulching you spread or lay is dictated by the climate you are living in. However, frigid temperatures require a heavier mulching layer than moderate climates.
That’s all about how to prepare your backyard for winter. Winter lawn care requires your special attention. You may be preparing your backyard for mild temperatures or heavy snow. Depending on what climate you live in, make sure that your winter lawn care plan is appropriate for that climate. If you are a savvy gardener and have any tips regarding how to maintain the lawn in winter, share them with us in the comment below.
Should I cut grass before winter?
Trimming your lawn grass just before winter helps keep your lawn grass green and healthy in winter. Without a pre-winter trim, your lawn can develop moldy fungus. So, it is best to keep your grass green by mowing it to the appropriate height at the right time.
How to feed lawn in winter?
Feeding lawns in winter will keep the grass healthy. Feeding your grass with food containing potassium will help strengthen your lawn to resist disease infection.