Winter is coming. After working hard on your lawn all summer long, it is time to secure your investment before it gets any cooler. Getting your lawn ready for the heavy snow fall and below-freezing temperatures of winter is essential to protecting its annual health. Make sure the effort you put into your yard doesn’t go to waste by following these steps to properly prepare your lawn for winter.
Clear Your Lawn
A layer of dead grass and other material, known as thatch, can build up on the surface of the soil, interfere with drainage, harbor fungal diseases, and prevent your lawn from growing to its full potential. Rake the surface firmly to remove any deeply embedded debris or moss. This is also a great time to maintain the health of trees and shrubs by removing dead or decayed branches.
Using a garden fork or machine aerator, spike holes into the lawn all over the surface to aerate it and improve drainage. Central Indiana features high clay concentrations in the soil, and therefore residents of areas like Carmel, Noblesville, and Indianapolis are encouraged to aerate their yards every fall to ensure water and nutrients are able to dig in during the winter months. For more information on how aeration works, check out this informational video featuring Bill Greenwood, owner of Greenworks Lawn Care.
Once aerated, brush horticultural-grade sand into the holes to prevent them from closing up. Rocky sand encourages drainage and allows for air and water to pass freely into the root zone. Caution: use only horticultural sand in your lawn, as sharp sand comes from beaches and is likely to contain traces of sea salt, which is likely to harm your yard.
Think of this step as tucking your yard in for the winter. Spread dry top-dressing (a mixture of sand, loam, and peat) over the surface to help improve drainage and to level out low patches. Use a brush or the back side of a rake to work it into the grass evenly. Remember to leave the top of the grass exposed to the air. If you add too much top-dressing, simply remove the excess, and allow your lawn to breathe. Check out this illustrated article for more on how to properly top-dress your lawn.
Neglecting your yard now will cost you come springtime, as small issues have time to turn into major problems. These steps can help your lawn bounce back come April. For more information about seasonal lawn care, or to schedule an aeration appointment, contact us at 317-663-0222.