Prepare Your Lawn For Winter
It’s that time of year again — time to pack away your outdoor furniture, sports equipment, and tools and prepare for winter. Whether you’re a homeowner, property owner, or municipal operator, you want to ensure that your sod will be prepared for the cold season ahead. If you have an established lawn, then taking steps to properly prepare it now will result in a beautiful and healthy lawn next spring.
The Nursery Sod Growers Association (NSGA) has put together a few expert tips for you to keep in mind when preparing your lawn for winter:
Aerate Your Lawn
Aerating your turfgrass in the fall will help your lawn breathe over the winter. Aerating helps the soil retain moisture, loosen soil for effective aeration and drainage, and increase soil organisms, which help make nutrients available to plants and other natural landscaping elements.
Expert Tip: We recommend giving your lawn the benefits of aeration by calling your landscaper or garden centre for information on lawn care services, or by contacting a rental company to find an appropriate aeration unit.
Overseed Your Lawn
As part of your preparation, we suggest that you overseed your lawn. Overseeding will help to fill in any gaps in your turf that may have been caused by the stress of the summer season, insects, or disease.
Adding more seed at this time of year will help to thicken your turf which not only looks great, but will also help to prevent thatch and improve your lawn’s ability to ward off insects.
Expert Tip: We recommend overseeding during the fall season at least 45 days before your first frost.
Feed Your Lawn
This is an ideal time to fertilize your turfgrass sod. Applying fertilizer in October and November will help your lawn handle the harsh winter season ahead.
Ensure your lawn is cleared of debris and leaves before applying fertilizer so that it can be properly absorbed into the root system. By feeding your turfgrass now, you will help your lawn go into hibernation and ‘wake-up’ early next spring.
When feeding your lawn, the amount of fertilizer that you use will vary depending on the fertility of the natural soil, the degree of growth you want, and the type of grass that you are growing.
Expert Tip: Bluegrass requires 2 to 3 kilograms of nitrogen, 1 to 1.5 kilograms of phosphorous, and the same of potassium per 100 square metres per year.
- Fertilizer applications are determined by the amount of nitrogen they contain.
- We recommend any special turf fertilizer made by a reputable manufacturer, using a controlled release nitrogen. This will provide you with well-balanced feeding for your lawn and ensure the fertilizer will release slowly.
- Be sure to follow the instructions on the bag.
- Always water the fertilizer in to prevent burning.
Watering your lawn in the fall will help the roots stay moist over the winter and help to avoid them drying out and dying.
Mow Your Lawn
Once your lawn has been raked and fertilized, you will want to mow it.
Unlike the hot summer months, having shorter turfgrass over the winter will help prevent a build-up of dead grass in the spring, help reduce matting, and will allow for the moisture from the snowfall to be more readily absorbed into the soil and roots.
We recommend mowing your lawn before the first snowfall.
Expert Tip: Cutting your turfgrass approximately 30% shorter than your usual cutting height will help your lawn ‘wake up’ earlier in the spring, and look beautiful faster.