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Six Winter Lawn Care Tips You Need To Know

Winter lawn care can be intimidating—especially when we’re already past the first freeze of fall. By taking the necessary precautions now, and making the right choices going forward, you can protect your lawn and set it up for even more springtime success. Here are six winter lawn tips worth making time for. 

1. Use Leaves and Natural Debris To Nourish Your Lawn

Do you have leaves or any natural debris (e.g., grass clippings, small branches, etc.) left on your lawn? If mulched, they can improve your lawn’s water retention, protection against the elements and more. You can use an actual mulcher or your mower, though the latter may require a few passes. Just try to avoid mulching anything that’s not natural, has been in contact with pesticides or is especially rough (like pine needles). 

Apply mulch anywhere on your lawn, but especially where snow and ice are most likely to gather—it will help with drainage and deicing—and around tree roots for insulation. If you opt not to mulch, you’ll want to remove leaves and natural debris before snow and ice cover them and lead to issues like snow mold. 

2. Do Not Cut, Aerate, or Fertilize Your Lawn Any Further

Cutting or aerating a dormant lawn (i.e., a lawn that’s stopped growing) and/or a lawn that’s already frozen over can create unnecessary damage. These services are best saved for the springtime once your lawn starts growing again. Applying fertilizer with Nitrogen is not recommended during the colder months, so avoid any fertilizers that may contain Nitrogen. Our team of experts do suggest that a late-fall application of a high-purity potassium fertilizer for green growing or dormant bermuda grass will help build food reserves in the plant and help reduce cold injury. 

3. Disconnect Your Hoses, Maintain Your Equipment, Protect Your Sprinklers 

Drain hoses of any leftover water, wind them up and store them in a well-insulated, dry location. You should also do some upkeep on your mower and other lawn equipment—drainage, cleaning, sharpening, etc.—before storing them for the season. 

If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, winterizing it can be the difference between peace of mind and costly repair bills. Instead of taking on the extensive, stressful steps yourself, schedule winterization services. Barefoot Lawn Care has the expertise to prevent frozen water from damaging your sprinkler heads, valves, pipes and pumps. We also offer spring irrigation start-up services to get you back up and running again just as you were. 

4. Avoid Heavy Lawn Traffic

While footsteps, cars and more can always damage your lawn, this is especially the case now.  Some traffic here and there will likely do little, but repeated cases over the same spot can be a problem. Besides the normal smothering that can occur, there’s also now the possibility of ice crystals killing grass blades from the inside out. 

5. Use Snow and Ice Melting Products With Care

While handy, these solutions can create lawn damage that may not be visible until later into the season or even spring. Be sure to read the labels, follow instructions carefully and proceed with caution. Fair warning: ones made with salt are even most likely to make their way into the soil once snow and ice melt, and you don’t want that. If you don’t feel comfortable using store-bought products, sand can be a lawn-safe alternative. 

If you opt for physical removal of snow and ice, be careful about causing damage with a shovel or compacting snow when blowing or plowing it. Remember: snow and ice are often only temporary setbacks for lawns, so it’s not worth overworking it. 

6. Water When the Time Is Right 

While routine waterings aren’t recommended in the winter, there can be times that call for them. Watch the weather regularly to see if any dry periods are coming up. Deep waterings are good on days where there’s a lack of precipitation, temperatures go above 40°F and your soil doesn’t feel moist. Otherwise, your lawn may dry out and suffer more damage once cold temperatures and precipitation come back. Just be sure to avoid excessive watering, as it can lead to several different lawn diseases.

Winterize the Right Way With Barefoot Lawn Care

While there are fewer direct lawn demands in the winter, it’s certainly not a cakewalk—especially if we have extra harsh conditions. Keep taking action and planning ahead and you’ll come out the other side of it with a healthy lawn. For help with winterizing your irrigation system or just discussing your lawn’s best game plan, request your free lawn analysis today. 

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