Fall is a great time to give your lawn that extra boost it needs to make it through the winter months. Cool-season grasses especially need a fall feeding to get ready for next spring. Here are a few tips on how to winterize your lawn.
1. Fertilizing your lawn in the fall will strengthen it for the harsh winter months. Fertilize cool-season grasses, such as ryegrass, fescue and bluegrass in September, October or November. Specially formulated winterizing fertilizers are higher in potassium than regular lawn food. Potassium is the nutrient that makes grasses more winter hardy. Apply winterizers as the last fertilizer application of the growing season.
2. Taking steps to prevent lawn disease, weeds, and insects keeps your lawn looking good. Leaves left on the lawn encourage disease by preventing sunlight and air from reaching the grass. Use a rake or blower to collect the leaves and add them to a compost pile. If you’d rather, you can go over them with a mulching mower, chopping them into a good fine compost for your grass. For weed control during the winter months, apply a pre-emergent weed killer. Some products feature a combination fertilizer and weed killer called “weed and feed.”
3. Mowing and Composting is a simple way to add nutrients back to your lawn. The best time to mulch is early fall, spring and summer. Mulch retains heat and moisture. For best results throughout the growing season, use a lawn mower that can easily convert from a mulcher to a bagging unit or leaf shredder. Get started on a home compost program. Save lawn waste (includes grass clippings, shredded leaves and chopped brush) for the compost bin.
Even if you have only a small plot of sod, you still want it to look its best and be free of problems. If you do the few things above, you can rest so easy all winter long knowing that when spring rolls around you already have a huge jump on the care of your lawn.