Caring for Lawns in Winter
In Canada, winter lawn care consists primarily of staying warm and waiting for the arrival of warmer weather. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your lawn is green and vibrant when spring rolls around.
Tips on Caring for Lawns in Winter
- Rake thick, heavy leaves in late autumn. A thin layer of leaves is fine; just run over the top of them with a mower to chop the leaves into smaller pieces so they decompose quickly. However, a thick layer should be raked, otherwise, it can become wet and matted enough to suffocate your lawn.
- Keep the lawn clean and clear of debris. Do a walkthrough periodically throughout the winter and pick up broken branches and twigs. Leaving debris on the lawn increases the risk that various fungi and other diseases may show up in spring.
- Feed your lawn in autumn, using a winter fertilizer with an NPK ratio such as 12-0-18, which will build strength and resilience to withstand the coming winter. Fertilizing in autumn also provides a head start on spring growth.
- If your lawn is thin and sparse, you may want to overseed with a winter-tolerant type of grass seed before the first frost. Overseeding will rejuvenate a tired lawn and increase its resistance to weeds, insects, and disease.
- Lower your mower slightly the last couple of mowings to allow sunlight to reach the roots, but don’t scalp your lawn. It’s best to leave at least 5 cm, but rodents may dig and build nests or burrow in longer grass.
- Be careful about walking on your lawn when the grass is dormant during the winter months, as heavily worn areas are slow to bounce back in spring. Keep the sidewalks clear of snow so guests won’t be tempted to walk across your lawn. Never allow anybody to park their vehicle on your lawn.