Winter Lawn Care Tips
Chicago has now reached the winter months which for many of us means that our routine lawn care is on hold until the spring. While it may seem like winter lawn care would be largely ineffective, there are actually several things you can do for your lawn during even the coldest winters to help it grow back strong in the spring. This article includes the most effective winter lawn care tips that will benefit your lawn’s early season growth.
One effective strategy for winter lawn care is fertilization. The lawns in Illinois and most of the Midwest are mostly comprised of cool season grasses and the best time to fertilize these grasses is in the late fall or early winter. During the summer, the soil loses plenty of nutrients which can be replaced with thorough fertilizer applications. It is best to apply fertilizer before the first freeze so that the nutrients in the fertilizer remain in the soil after the ground freezes and snow begins to fall. The roots will feed on these nutrients throughout the winter and grow back thicker in the spring.
Another way to help your lawn through the winter months is with proper mowing strategies late in the season. As the summer winds down, it is wise to gradually mow your lawn shorter and shorter by lowering the mower blade before each time you mow. Lawns keep better in the winter if the grass is shorter but cutting it all off at once could shock your lawn which is why it should be done gradually. Keeping short grass at the end of the season protects new growth and also discourages pest infestations as field mice and other burrowing animals dig themselves into lawns with longer grass during the winter.
The final effective winter lawn care method is keeping your lawn free of debris and excessive foot traffic. After mowing your lawn for the last time of the season, you should clear your lawn of any and all debris. Objects that are left sitting on the grass for extended periods will stunt the growth of the grass with its weight and cause dead spots. This same thing can also happen with extensive foot traffic over areas of your lawn. Constant walking over the same areas of a lawn will beat down the soil and kill the grass, making it much more difficult for it to recover come spring. By simply keeping your lawn free of debris and excess foot traffic, you give your lawn a much better chance of making a full recovery.
While lawn care tends to be forgotten about as lawns lay dormant in the winter, taking these simple steps can go a long way towards a full spring recovery. These tips are easy to do and are even more effective with extra fall preparation such as aeration and seeding. Performing these tasks effectively will allow you to spend much of the winter indoors as you wait for your lawn to recover in the spring.