We’re still (hopefully) at least a couple of months away from our first snowfall. However, it’s not wrong to start thinking about how the cold weather can impact your turf.
Winter can be brutal on your lawn. Grass is susceptible to damage caused by freezing winds, ice and snow, as well as plows and their road salt. As spring nears, diseases, such as snow mold, can appear.
However, other factors can increase the impact of winter damage. To ensure your lawn survives the colder months, I highly recommend you do the following throughout the fall:
- Consistently clean off leaves and pine needles: These will mat the turf and block sunlight from reaching its blades. Without sunlight, your grass will weaken and die. Matting can also cause turf to rot and diseases to develop.
- Always mow the lawn: Long grass (anything over 4 inches) will begin to bend and mat. If left this way over the winter, it can rot, which can permanently damage your lawn. Throughout the year, always keep your lawn at least 3.5 to 4 inches, and never mow off more than 1/4 of the blade at once. (Basically, don’t let your grass grow too long…and yes, 6 inches to a foot high is much too long.)
- Seed at the right time: Seeding at the wrong time of year can set your lawn up for failure. The concept of dormant seeding is not something I support. Some companies offer this service, which basically means they seed right before the ground freezes and snow arrives with the expectation (really hope) that the seed will grow the following spring. Good luck with that. If you’re going to seed, do so beginning the last week of August to October.
Remember, although your lawn’s growing season isn’t year-round, “lawn care” is.