The leaves have fallen, the days are shorter and toques are becoming virtually mandatory. Yes, it’s here once again – winter. Now that winter is here to stay, we need to make sure that our lawns are ready. There are a few ways we can help prepare our lawn to ensure that it’s able to survive the harsh cold season ahead while allowing it to look its best come springtime.
What Happens to Your Grass During Winter?
Although it may seem like it, your grass doesn’t actually die when winter hits, but your lawn does go through a variety of changes. Shorter days mixed with colder temperatures cause reduced growth, before the grass finally becomes dormant. Typically, older grass blades will die, which causes brown spots. Dormant grass is generally more of a tan colour.
The Effects of Snow on Your Lawn
Winter takes a very serious toll on our lawns and plant life. The snow, ice and cold temperatures all cause negative side-effects that can severely damage our grass, and leave our lawns looking patchy and brown come spring. Here’s a few examples of how this happens:
- Extremely low temperatures can freeze turf grasses
- Blistery cold and dry winds can cause dehydration in plant life
- Ice that accumulates in a lawn can cause micro tears in plant tissues
- Temperature fluctuation affects the dormancy cycles of turf grass
- Salt and sand from home and road use can severely damage grass
- Cold weather diseases can occur, such as snow mold
Now, having snow on your lawn isn’t all doom and gloom. Having a consistent layer of snow on your lawn can actually work as a blanket to help protect your lawn from the harsh elements. But with our winters typically being inconsistent in snowfall and temperature, this isn’t always the case.
How You Can Prepare Your Lawn for Winter
Just like how we get ourselves, cars and homes ready to deal with winter, there are ways that we can help our lawns battle it as well. Following these steps will help give your lawn the tools it needs to survive another harsh Canadian winter, and will have it looking great when spring arrives.
Rake or mulch leaves –
Having a thick layer of leaves on your lawn during the winter can suffocate it, which can cause it to die and turn brown. Remove as many leaves as you can before running your mower over your lawn to mulch the rest. Set your mower deck to around 3 inches and mulch away. A layer of around an inch or so of mulched leaves can actually add much needed nutrients to your lawn.
Dethatch and aerate –
Running a detacher over your lawn is a great way to rid it of any dead turfgrass. This material can keep valuable nutrients and water from getting down into the grass roots. Aerating before winter hits is also extremely beneficial. It punches tiny holes into your lawn. This again allows more water, air and nutrients to get to the grassroots.
Soil and seed –
To build up your lawn’s strength, spread a very thin layer of enriched soil over your lawn. Then spread a slightly thicker layer of grass seed over your lawn. This will help fortify your lawn to keep it strong to fight off the effects of winter. Make sure you choose the grass seed that is right for your lawn (shade-tolerant, handle’s foot traffic well). Use a hand or push spreader for a more consistent result.
A vibrant and plush lawn is an integral part of any home. Help your lawn make it through another winter, so you and your family will be able to enjoy it come springtime. For all of your lawn needs, contact the professionals who care at Weed-A-Way.