Now that all the leaves have fallen and the deciduous trees are bare, you may think you’re done taking care of your lawn until Spring.
Despite the grays in Atlanta this time of year, there are certain things that should be accomplished in the coming weeks to ensure it will be green and lush when Springtime regrowth occurs.
Preparing for Winter
You may not be paying as much attention to your yard now that the turfgrass is in a state of dormancy, but if you do, your efforts will be rewarded.
To enjoy a beautiful yard in the Spring, there are some steps experts recommend you take.
#1. Clean And Tidy Up
You should always rake or blow leaves off of your lawn, preferably before the first frost occurs. An accumulation of leaves on top of the turf will restrict the much-needed sunlight and oxygen from reaching down to the grassroots. Those leaves also make a good hiding place for harmful pests that can cause disease.
An alternative to removing the leaves completely is to chop them up and allow them to filter back into the lawn as mulch to keep it fertilized. If you have an abundance of leaves, they are also beneficial for plant beds and gardens.
#2. Let It Grow Taller
Toward the end of autumn, about a month before the first heavy frost, start raising your lawnmower blade to let the grass grow taller. When it’s explained, most people realize that mowing is stressful for turfgrass. Therefore, as it enters a period of reduced vitality, let it grow to build up its reserves.
The recommended height depends on the type of grass. Some of the more popular Atlanta grasses include:
- Tall fescue: 2-3 inches
- Common bermudagrass: 1-2 inches
- Hybrid bermudagrass: 0.5-1.5 inches
- Zoysia grass: 0.5-1.5 inches
- Centipede grass: 1-1.5 inches
- Augustine grass: 2-3 inches
- Ryegrass: 1-2 inches
Keeping the grass at its recommended height will help protect it from pathogen attacks and increase its ability to photosynthesize and store up crucial nutrients.
#3. Supplement Growth Elements
Challenging growing conditions call for supplemental assistance.
The intense heat during the summer can deplete a lot of the nutrients from your soil. Winter is the time for your lawn’s roots to regain strength. Supplying your lawn with sufficient fertilization will help it survive during any freezing weather and thrive in the Spring. Spread fertilizer that contains a mix of:
- Nitrogen – to promote growth
- Phosphorous – for disease prevention
- Potassium – for insulation from the cold
#4. Make Seed And Sod Fixes
Spread some grass seed over small bare spots in your lawn to generate even growth in the spring. If there are large bare patches, you may want to lay sod instead.
Make sure to water these areas until the seeding or fresh sod takes hold. The roots will be dormant and barely grow during the winter months but come springtime, they will dig deep to do their part for supporting green blades of grass.
#5. Monitor Weeds For Spring Treatment
Your lawn can be infested with winter weeds, also referred to as winter annuals. Examples of winter annual weeds include Henbit, Annual Bluegrass, Chickweed, corn Speedwell and Lawn Burrweed (or Spurweed).
Treating these weeds is most effective when the outside air temperature is 50°F and above. Yet during winter there are more easily identified for subsequent treatment.
#6. Minimize Supplemental Watering
Typically, your lawn won’t need any irrigation during the cooler winter months. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, make sure to change its frequency or have it professionally winterized.
The recommended amount of water during winter is about one inch per week. Keep in mind that this includes any rainfall or other precipitation, such as the occasional snowfall.
#7. Give It Space To Breathe
Aeration is an important treatment for the health of your lawn and the soil in which it grows. It allows viral air, water, and nutrients to penetrate and circulate to the roots more easily.
Aerating is the process of pulling plugs of soil from the lawn and depositing them on its surface. It loosens the soil, improves the distribution of nutrients and water, reduces thatch, and assists in grass seed germination.
#8. Limit Foot Traffic
During the winter, your dormant grass can become brittle and weaker. Excessive traffic only increases the risk of damage.
Whenever possible, and especially when it is wet or covered in snow, avoid walking on the lawn. Be mindful of this in the mornings when it may be still covered with frost, which makes it more sensitive.
Leave It to the Landscaping Pros
If you want your lawn to look lush and full in Springtime, it’s important to protect it during the winter months. If you don’t have the time, patience, or know-how to prepare your yard for winter, we can help.
Call on Metro Lawns for reasonably priced lawn and landscape services in the Metro Atlanta area. We’ve been in the business of maintaining Atlanta lawns since 1992, and we’d love to help you enjoy a low-maintenance lawn that will be the envy of your neighbors.