Sat September 14, 2013
Garden Report

Help Your Lawn Survive The Winter

Credit Michael Ploujnikov / Wikimedia Commons
 Autumn is the time to start training lawns for the winter. Training the lawn now gives it a head start for next spring, too.   

Lawns benefit from fall aeration and fertilization.  Aeration is most effective if the soil is moist. Don’t try to aerate if the soil is dry.  That will only beat up the person aerating and do more damage to the grass.

Aeration is most beneficial followed by a thorough watering. As the weather cools, watering once a week is enough.  Watering after aerating lets the moisture penetrate deeper. The water also breaks down the cores of soil, which add nutrients to the grass. 

Fall fertilization on lawns won’t show any immediate results. But the lawn will respond to the fertilizer next spring. Use a slow release, winterizing fertilizer. They last longer in the soil. 

Organic fertilizer on cool season grass, like bluegrass, promotes fall and spring root growth. Time your fertilization before a storm or plan to water in the fertilizer. Without additional water the benefits of fall fertilization are minimized.

How Low Should You Go?

"Use a slow release, winterizing fertilizer. They last longer in the soil."

Keep bluegrass lawns at least two to three inches long. The longer blades shade the soil and conserve moisture. At your last mowing cut the grass a little shorter. Short grass lessens the chance of getting molds if we do get any winter snows. 

Warms season grass like Buffalo grass will turn brown after the first frost. That’s time to cut off the water and let it be. Cool season grass like Bluegrass loves cool days and nights. The cooler the weather the less water the grass needs.

When To Water In The Winter

Plan to water the lawn during dry winter periods. Water when the soil isn’t frozen. Winter watering lawns helps prevent clover mites. The mites can damage large lawn areas in a short period of time. 

Fall lawn care will help your lawn survive the winter. It will also help it thrive next spring.


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