Preparing your lawn for winter: An overview of the grass care package
In spring, you are incredibly happy with all the variety of grass that reigns in your lawn. However, if you want to ensure that in the next season your green lawn will amaze with its emerald color, in other words, that the lawn grows and develops well, you need to properly care for the grass in autumn and carry out the obligatory measures to prepare it for the winter.
You will learn about what is included in the autumn measures for the care and preparation of the lawn for winter – watering, feeding, mowing, aeration, etc., you will learn from our material.
What is included in the fall measures for the care and preparation of the lawn for the winter
The main fall activities for caring for and preparing your lawn for winter are as follows:
- leveling the surface of the site (as needed);
- removal of debris (leaves).
Please note! All activities should be carried out only in dry and preferably clear weather. Walking on wet grass in autumn or spring is forbidden, as well as on snow in winter.
Watering your lawn in the fall
If the rains come along with fall in your region, there is almost no need for regular lawn watering. But if you are still dry, you need to water the grass at least once a week – or even a little more often.
Naturally, the best and only correct method of watering lawns is sprinkling.
As a rule, you should stop watering your lawn when the temperature drops – around the same time as the last mowing, because it is not advisable to leave the moist soil to freeze under any circumstances.
Important: If you notice that puddles form in certain places, and as you know stagnant moisture is extremely destructive for lawns (leading to rotting), you should make the surface level as soon as possible, as will be explained below.
Please note: Autumn lawns do not need nitrogen fertilizers to promote growth and build up green mass. It is only needed in spring and summer, but not in autumn.
Autumn fertilization of the lawn is done to strengthen its root system, so that the grass becomes more frost-resistant, because we are talking about its preparation for the winter, and hence for frost.
To stimulate root growth (phosphorus) and increase resistance to disease (potassium), the lawn should be fertilized with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers in autumn.
Important! Lawn feeding, as well as any other plants, should only be done on moist soil, so it would seem to be necessary to perform watering first. But in the case of lawns, on the other hand, it is advisable to water after the fertilizer has been evenly distributed on the dry grass, which can be done with a special device.
As phosphate fertilizer is optimal to use double superphosphate (30-40 grams per 1 square meter of area).
Potassium fertilizers: potassium sulfate (20-30 grams per 1 square meter) or wood ash (100-200 grams per 1 square meter of the plot).
Important: If you decide to fertilize the lawn after mowing, you should do this after 1-2 days, giving time to “heal the wounds”.
The last mowing of the lawn before the winter
The optimum height at which to cut the grass during the last autumn mowing is 6-8 cm.
So why mow the lawn before the winter?
If you leave grass too high (above 10 cm) it will surely fall down in the frost and wilt over the winter. If the grass is too low (under 6 cm) it could simply freeze.
As for when to cut the grass for the last time before winter, you should first check the weather forecast. The last mowing should take place no more than two weeks before frost.
Important: Always clear away all grass cuttings.
Smoothing the lawn
To ensure that during the winter thaws puddles do not form on the lawn (in lowlands), which then turned into an ice crust (because of which the grass can not breathe, the roots will not get oxygen, and as a result in the spring in this place will be sparse), the fall is necessary to make an obligatory leveling.
With what to level the site? For this, you need sand and leaf humus. Pour this mixture into holes and other irregularities and tamp them down.
By the way! If the grass surface is uneven if there is a relief, then in the lowlands the lawn can receive too much fertilizer, and on the contrary, on high ground – it will not receive enough, because of which, as a rule, occurs burning grass (in the lowlands). Therefore, in order to distribute nutrients evenly over the site, it must be flat.
Aerating your lawn in autumn
One of the main activities to prepare your lawn for winter is to aerate it in the fall.
Remember! Lawn aeration (aeration) means the oxygenation of the soil by puncturing the topsoil. And it is necessary to carry out this procedure at least 3 times a season: in spring during the recovery of lawn grass after winter, in summer, and, actually, in autumn.
To carry out the aeration of the lawn you can either use a unique electric or gasoline aerator (scarifier), or you can use mechanical means, whether it is aerator sandals or garden forks. There is also a unique aerator roller.
Aeration with a garden fork is carried out as follows: you have to pierce the soil to a depth of 15-20 cm and every 15-20 cm, you have to slightly raise a layer of turf as if tilting it towards yourself (putting the forks at an angle).
What is the purpose of lawn aeration in the autumn? It will give your lawn extra protection against ice crusts in the winter so that the moisture can penetrate the soil and the grass roots can get the oxygen they need.
Important! If a mole net is laid under your lawn (at a depth of 5-10 cm), it is still necessary to aerate for the winter, but it is better to prick the ground more carefully with an ordinary garden fork.
Cleaning leaves and other debris
After all the activities it is necessary to carry out the autumn sanitary cleaning of the lawn, during which you should remove all leaves and other debris (all kinds of sticks and the like). It is most convenient (easier to work) to do this with a fan rake.
By the way: You can remove the leaves from the lawn at the same time as you mow it last.
If you do not do this and leave all the debris on the site, it will create a crust of caked leaves, in which various microorganisms are formed, which will contribute to the emergence and reproduction of pathogenic flora (mold, bacteria, germs). In addition, it will become a kind of natural barrier to the normal flow of oxygen to the roots. As a result, in the spring you will see serious gaps, which means you will have to repair the lawn and grass seeding.
Tip: You should not throw large piles of snow on the lawn in winter. Distribute it evenly over the surface. Naturally, under huge drifts, the grass will not feel comfortable, and therefore, in the spring there is a high probability of seeing a spillage in this place.
Thus, if you do a little extra work in the fall and properly prepare your lawn for the winter, in the spring you will not need to spend a lot of time and effort to restore the lawn grass after the winter. It’s not without reason that they say, “Prepare the sled in the summer and the lawn in the fall!”