The winter has now settled into the St. Louis area but that does not mean we should forget about lawn care until the spring. Winter lawn care may seem like a wasted effort but there are actually several helpful things you can do for your lawn that will help it make a better recovery in the spring, even after the harshest winters. Listed in this article are effective winter lawn care tips that are sure to boost early season growth.
One of the most effective winter lawn care strategies is fertilization. Most lawns throughout the St. Louis area and much of the Midwest contain cool season grasses and the late fall or early winter are the best times to fertilize these types of grasses. The soil in your lawn loses plenty of nutrients throughout the summer months and thorough fertilization applications replace these nutrients. It is important to remember to fertilize your lawn a final time before the first freeze or snow. Once the ground freezes and snow starts falling, the nutrients from the fertilizer remain in the soil to feed the roots throughout the winter.
Another way to help your lawn survive the winter months is with proper preparation in the fall. This includes aerations and seeding as well as proper mowing techniques. Late season mowing techniques should involve gradually mowing your lawn shorter and shorter each time you mow during the last month of the season. Lawns handle winter weather better when the grass is kept short but this must be done gradually to avoid shocking the roots by cutting it all at once. Shorter grass helps protect fragile new growth and also discourages burrowing pests that look for long grass in the winter. The other important preparation strategy is aeration and seeding. Aerations are typically performed in the fall with machines that remove small plugs of grass and soil over the entire lawn to allow more nutrients to enter the soil. Seeding is done along with aerations because it is easier for the seeds to reach the soil where the plugs have been removed. Following these preparation techniques late in the season will help your lawn maker a stronger recovery the following spring.
The final way to effectively care for your lawn during the winter is by keeping it clear of debris and free of excess foot traffic. Once you have completed work on your lawn for the season, it is wise to remove all debris because objects left sitting on a lawn will kill the grass with its weight and cause stunted growth and dead spots. Excessive foot traffic can have a similar effect on your lawn as repetitive footsteps lead to beaten paths that also kills grass or stunts its growth. By clearing debris from your lawn and avoiding excess foot traffic, your lawn has a better chance of making a full recovery in the spring.
While your lawn may lay dormant in the winter, following these simple care tips can make a big difference in your lawn’s recovery the following spring. These tasks are very easy to perform and do not require you to spend long periods of time in the cold weather. If these tasks are done effectively, you will spend your winter indoors as your lawn prepares itself for the new season.