How to Care For Your Lawn in Winter

It’s common for lawns to get ignored in Utah during the winter months; the grass is dormant and doesn’t require as much care, right?  While grass is in hibernation, it doesn’t mean you should ignore it.  Yard maintenance is still necessary during the winter to ensure your grass is green and full come springtime.

Fertilizing During the Winter

Fertilizing and aerating your lawn is still effective during winter.  When spreading fertilizer, be sure to follow the instructions on your fertilizer package and spread evenly to ensure you don’t use too much; this can burn the grass.  When the temperature drops and the stormy weather hits, it’s more difficult for the roots of your grass to get air.  Using a spade to remove “soil spikes” across your yard will allow more airflow to your grass.  With a more extensive lawn, it may be better to purchase a motorized or manual aerator to save you time.

If your lawn has bald spots from summer play or autumn leaves, spreading some winter/cool-weather rated grass seed will help give you a full lawn in the spring.  Grass seed is easy to apply with a fertilizer spreader.  Again you’ll want to apply this evenly to avoid grass clumps or areas where the grass is too thin.

It’s essential to rake your lawn to separate soil clumps or, if you spread seeds, to cover them more.  It would be best if you got rid of any leftover leaves from fall and picked up any toys or other debris on your lawn to get a full lawn in spring.

Before Winter Lawn Preparation

For the last mow or two before stashing away the lawnmower for winter, lower your blades to cut the grass, so it’s about two inches tall.  Much taller, and it often smothers itself, leading to damage during freezing weather and a thinner lawn.  Cutting the grass too short could scalp it, resulting in a weak lawn more susceptible to disease, stress, and weeds.  Scalping may be a good idea during the springtime to give the soil more sunlight and expose an uneven lawn so you can fill in those gaps, but it’s very harmful during the winter.

Most Utah winters, it is unnecessary to water your yard as we get plenty of rain and snow.  However, we will have droughts from time to time, or it won’t be until late winter or spring that it snows or rains.  When this happens, it’s essential to water your lawn during winter to ensure it won’t dry up.