In most parts of the country, turf grass is dormant in winter. In the south, ryegrass is often re-sown in the lawn in the cooler season to get a green lawn. In the north it’s too cold for grass to grow, so we’re patiently waiting for spring, sometimes under snow, sometimes not. However, lawn care doesn’t quite end in winter. Try these tricks to keep your garden healthy.
Spread fertilizer with a spreader. When moving the machine back and forth across the grass, hold the handle like a trigger, it will release pellets when it “shoots”. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package. Use only the recommended amount. Be careful, because too much fertilizer can burn your weed.
Ventilate the lawn
Provide extra air for the grass roots by aerating your lawn. Use a spade to remove spikes over your lawn to make holes for planting seeds. If your lawn is large, you may want to rent a motorized or manual aerator.
Spread grass seeds in cold weather
Buy grass seeds labeled “cool season” or “cool weather” like most fescue. You can spread the seeds over the lawn with the same spreader that you used for the fertilizer. Try to distribute the seeds evenly so that you don’t have tufts of grass later.
Rake and water the lawn
Drag a rake across the lawn to break up clumps of earth and slightly cover the seeds. Water the lawn with the garden hose spray. Then keep the soil moist, do not let it dry out.
More tips for wintering
- Clean it up. It is extremely important not to leave debris, leaves, or toys on the lawn. These things can choke the grass, cause disease, and invite insects, mice, and other harmful pests.
- Lower the height of your mower by a notch or two for the final mowing times. Grass that is too long can suffocate itself, cause disease, and be damaged by frost and thaw. However, don’t cut the grass so short that you scalp it, exposing the canopy of the plant to extreme conditions.
- Watch out for the traffic. Under a blanket of snow or weather conditions, dormant grass tolerates moderate traffic, but a heavily worn path will turn green more slowly in spring and cause compaction.
- Monitor weather conditions. Lawn is very resilient and can withstand an extreme winter, but certain conditions can be harmful in the long run. It can be worthwhile to knock away some exposed ice in a low spot if you know a winter storm or freezing is coming.
Winters can often be unpredictable and can expose your lawn to some extreme conditions as the season progresses. It is best to make sure that the grass is hardened. Once you have “bedded” the lawn properly, you can focus on keeping your walkways clear and building snowmen. Remember to keep an eye on the weather.