In order to have a lush, green lawn when spring rolls back around, it’s important that you learn how to take care of your lawn in winter, as well. Think that just because the weather turned cold and the grass stopped growing as quickly you’re done with lawn care until next year? Nope!
Even though there are fewer tasks you may need to perform on a weekly basis during the winter, your lawn needs some TLC to stay healthy throughout the season. Today, we’re taking a look at winter lawn care tips you can do to help give you the best lawn in the neighborhood next spring.
Winter Lawn Care Tips
Winters in the Albany, Saratoga, and Colonie, NY areas can be pretty tough. Snow and ice can wreak havoc on your front yard landscaping and that recent backyard makeover you enjoyed during the summer and fall. So what’s to be done? Learning how to take care of your lawn in winter is a crucial part of year round lawn maintenance.
To help your yard weather this season with ease, take a look at some of these winter lawn care tips:
- Finish fall landscaping cleanup to remove debris
- Mow the grass a little shorter
- Fill in bare patches with seeds or sod before the ground freezes
- Aerate your lawn
- Avoid salt damage during winter
Finish Up Fall Landscaping Cleanup
Before winter hits in full force, you should’ve been taking care of fall cleanup. How do I know if I need fall cleanup before winter? Do you see any leaves in your yard? Does your landscaping need mulching? What about bare patches in your grass areas? If you’re seeing any of these (and you likely are if you live in the Capital Region!), then your winter lawn care should start with fall cleanup.
Fall cleanup services tend to focus on raking, bagging, and removing leaves and other debris that has littered your yard during the fall season. Other items on your fall cleanup checklist should include trimming back any trees or shrubs that need it, adding mulch, and possibly even overseeding your lawn to fill bare spots. If you don’t have the time to take care of these items yourself (or you simply don’t want to), a professional landscape company can do them for you without you having to lift a finger.
Mowing the Grass in Winter
Our next winter lawn care tip is about mowing the grass. Mowing the grass in winter is a task that does end as the season continues to progress. As winter begins to set in, however, part of learning how to take care of your lawn in winter is knowing what height to cut the lawn those last few times.
In winter, grasses will grow more slowly in cooler climates, meaning you don’t need to mow the grass in winter very often. Additionally, you’ll want to cut your grass a little shorter for the winter months, as longer grass can effectively suffocate itself under snow and ice. Longer grass compacted under snowfall can also lead to a higher risk of damage from snow mold or any freezing/thawing cycles that occur.
Note: Don’t cut your grass too short in winter or you risk scalping it and exposing more sensitive parts to the elements.
Overseeding or Laying Sod in Winter
When it comes to how to take care of your lawn in winter, you want to be sure and address any bare or thinning patches you see. Learning what grass is right for Upstate NY lawns (hint: cool season grasses) can help you determine the best time to overseed your yard and allow them to germinate before freezing weather comes.
If you’re looking into laying sod in winter, be sure to do so before the ground freezes so that it can begin to take root and avoid soil erosion. You need to be sure the ground is above freezing as the new sod needs to be watered well. In too cold of weather, the water can freeze and cause damage to your new grass.
Aerating the Lawn in Winter
Next up on our list of winter lawn care tips is aerating it before freezing weather sets in full force. Aerating your lawn in winter breaks through thatch and increases airflow to grass root systems. It also helps with draining your lawn, which may prevent a common late-winter condition called “crown hydration” where grass absorbs water on a warmer winter day only to have it freeze inside, rupturing cells and causing damage.
Avoid Salt Damage to Grass
Homeowners in Colonie, NY and surrounding areas often use salt to prevent ice buildup on the sidewalk and driveway during cold winter months. One of our biggest and easiest winter lawn care tips is to ensure you don’t accidentally spread salt to your lawn. Salt and other de-icing products can damage grass by absorbing into it and causing a condition known as “physiological drought.” This condition can cause difficulty for your grass to absorb the nutrients it needs to survive during the winter months and result in dead, bare patches when spring comes back again.
Bonus Tip: When shoveling snow, spread it evenly over your yard instead of making a large pile to avoid excess soil compacting.
Protecting Lawn Features in Winter
Last, but not least, in our guide to winter lawn care tips comes protecting other features in your lawn like flower beds or a water feature installation. While these aren’t part of the lawn in terms of grassy areas, you’ve worked hard all year long to create a beautiful home and now it’s time to protect it all!
For outdoor plants and flowers, there are a few options to consider. You may be able to bring small potted plants into your home to ride out the harsh winter season. For plants that are in the ground or too large to bring inside, frost blankets are an effective way of protecting plants from a freeze, too. Be sure to check your frost blankets to see their temperature rating and see if it will work for your area.
What about taking care of water features in winter? Part of how to take care of your lawn in winter is being sure your statement pieces, like a water fountain or pondless waterfall, are protected from the elements. The majority of homeowners in the Capital Region tend to drain their garden water features and remove the pump for proper winter storage. Consulting landscape professionals in Upstate NY is best if you’re unsure of what you need to do to winterize your water features this season.
We hope our guide winter lawn care has given you tips and suggestions for keeping your lawn healthy all season long. Knowing how to take care of your lawn in winter is the best way to ensure a lush, green lawn next spring. In the meantime, you can also check out our Project Planner to get a headstart on planning and budgeting your next big landscaping project in the new year!
For more tips on winter lawn care for your home or business, check out these resources: