Winter draws in and the days of relaxing in the Florida sunshine on your beautifully manicured lawn are a distant memory, replaced by the sight of wet, cold, and soggy grass and leaves and the nagging thought that you should be doing some work – maybe our winter lawn care tips will help. It is not too late to spend a few hours ensuring your landscape survives in the best way and comes out fighting when spring finally arrives, heralding a new year of fresh growth.
In this post, we will cover what you should be doing in the five main areas of winter lawn care as well as a final top tip for anyone considering laying a new lawn below:
- Tip #1: Mowing
- Tip #2: Feeding
- Tip #3: Aeration
- Tip #4: Scarifying
- Tip #5: Watering
- Tip #6: Preparation For A New Lawn
Tip #1: Mowing
As fall turns to winter, it is time to start dropping the height of your mower blade to take off any of the final young growth of the year. This young grass is less robust than the crown at the base of the plant and is easily affected by frost which can lead to winter diseases finding an accommodating home.
Mowing back this young growth can be done gradually over a number of weeks to minimize the shock to the turf.
Throughout the rest of winter, the grass becomes mostly dormant, and only in extended periods of milder weather will the grass start to grow and may need a very slight trim to keep it in check. If so, raise the blade height up to just cut the tips.
Tip #2: Feeding
Generally, the advice here is to not feed your lawn when winter comes. Your lawn is in a state of almost hibernation over the cold period and isn’t putting any new growth out as it is too vulnerable to the weather and winter diseases that can attack damaged and broken blades. Spring and summer nitrogen-based feeds will cause the grass to sprout. If you are preparing for the spring and must feed, there are some potash and phosphorus-based fertilizers specifically designed for autumn and winter can encourage healthy growth. These specialist winter lawn fertilizers are available from normal outlets.
Tip #3: Aeration
After a summer and autumn of hard use, some parts of your lawn may have become compacted. As discussed previously, a healthy lawn needs to get air, moisture, and nutrients down to the roots so a light session of aeration before the first frosts come can help prepare the turf for winter and the coming spring. Simply walk it with some lawn aeration shoes or use a hollow tine or drum aerator for larger lawns to break up the soil.
You will notice that worms are relatively inactive in the winter as they head deeper away from the cold. When you start to see the worm casts appear in spring you know it is time to get ready to spruce the lawn up again as winter is ending.
Tip #4: Scarifying
The continuous damp weather of winter is the ideal breeding ground for many diseases that can affect your lawn. Clearing moss, leaves, and other debris before the first frosts and then keeping the turf as clear as possible can minimize these issues and leave the grass ready to spring back in the new year.
Tip #5: Watering
As with feeding your lawn over winter, you shouldn’t need to water it either saving another chore. The grass will slow down its requirements for water and food and as it effectively hibernates through the cold patch, storing its energy in the base of the blade and the roots. If it has been very dry autumn before, water well when the frost clears in early spring to maximize the turf’s ability to bounce back.
Tip #6: Preparation For A New Lawn
If you are preparing to lay a new lawn, breaking the ground up in the winter is a great way to get the earth loosened up and full of air pockets. As moisture seeps in between the grains of soil and then freezes, the water expands as it becomes ice and forces the grains apart splitting any stubborn, hard clumps of soil. Prepared this way, you start the new year with a well-aerated, loose soil perfect for early seeding and saving you a lot of backbreaking work.
These are just a handful of winter lawn care tips to help you keep your lawn in great shape for the winter as a residential homeowner. At Coastal Green Lawn Care, we suggest to let us take care of your lawn care needs for the winter. Why spend this fun time to mow your lawn when we can do all of the work for you. From tree trimming to detailed landscaping, we can handle it all. For information about our winter lawn care services in Palm Bay FL and surrounding areas, please be sure to contact us today!