Taking steps in late fall to prepare your grass for the colder months ahead greatly increases its chances of surviving until next spring. While taking care of your lawn year-round is important, fall is a crucial time to address any residual lawn issues and prepare it for harsh winter conditions. This will ensure your grass is healthy come spring when the temperatures warm up.
Protect Your Lawn for Winter
Depending on your climate, the best time to winterize your lawn is anywhere from late October to late November, or a few weeks before the first frost. The general rule is to wait until your last mow, when your grass stops growing (typically when daytime temperatures drop below 50 degrees).
Colder months mean fewer nutrients are available for your grass. Photosynthesis ceases when the soil is too cold, causing it to enter a dormant state. Because your grass is so vulnerable at this time, it needs protection from disease and damage. Winterizing your lawn is a great way to improve grass health and recovery time. At this time of year, grass is slowing its growth as all of the energy goes to the roots, digging deeper into the soil and gathering as much nutrients as possible to help it survive the winter.
The lawn of your dreams starts at the root. Grass needs deep, healthy roots in order to get enough nutrients and stay resilient. Our LAWN FORCE 5 (regular or Phosphorous-Free) is an excellent fertilizer to put down at this time of year for the beneficial root fungus it contains called mycorrhizae. This helps the roots draw more nutrients from the soil than they could on their own, preparing the grass for the long cold months ahead.
Time to Lime?
Lime will ensure that your lawn has an adequate supply of calcium, and it will also ensure your soil has a balanced pH. All grass prefers a soil pH that’s slightly acidic to neutral (between 6.0 and 7.0), but if the soil is too acidic, grass is unable to take up essential nutrients. If the plant doesn’t have access to key nutrients, it can’t grow.
Traditional Lime takes time to break down and get into your soil, but you don’t want to apply it when your grass is totally dormant. Fall is the best time to lime your lawn because it will have plenty of time to transform your acidic soil before the next growing season. Our Liquid Lime natural soil amendment comes in an easy to apply liquid form, and is sugar-chelated (no EDTA) for quick absorption and uptake, making it the fastest way to adjust your soil’s pH.
Be sure to test your soil pH before liming. Your local county extension office can perform a test, or you can purchase a DIY kit from your local lawn and garden center.
Although you don’t need to mow once your grass has completely stopped growing, mowing into late fall benefits your grass. It also helps fallen leaves decompose faster, adding organic material to the soil. For your last mow, the ideal height is 2-2.5 inches. Grass that’s too tall runs the risk of getting matted with frost, which can lead to snow mold. Don’t forget to perform lawn mower maintenance! Your blade is probably dull from frequent use during the growing season, so be sure to sharpen it now before storing it away. If you can’t get to it this year, make sure you put it on the calendar for early spring!
Protect Your Lawn Against Road Salt and Pet Damage
Something else you can do to protect your lawn this winter is apply our Spotless Lawn product before the snow falls. Spotless Lawn Dog Spot Aid is a unique organic formula that is designed to control and prevent dog urine burns on your lawn. Applying this product heavily in the late fall results in a healthier, deeper-rooted lawn that is protected against not only dog urine burns, but salt and weather damage as well. Be sure to apply heavily in areas that are close to the road, and areas that your dog tends to visit over and over again when snow is limiting their bathroom options. Strengthen your lawn this fall with a heavy application of Spotless Lawn and watch it come back stronger and greener than ever in the spring!
As the colder months roll in, it’s time to get your lawn ready for a long winter nap. Take some steps now to winterize your lawn and you can rest easy this winter knowing your lawn and equipment will be ready to go come spring!