3 Steps to Winterizing Your Lawn
Tools needed: leaf rake, lawn mower with a sharp blade
- Cut grass the optimal length before winter. The best length to cut grass before winter is still 2.5-3 inches. If you cut the blade too short, your grass may go hungry over the winter, lose its reserves, allow weed and crabgrass seeds to find a home, expose the fragile crown of the plant and it will likely spend the spring recovering from shock.
- Let grass have room to absorb sun rays. Grass stores carbohydrates in its roots and crown – the part of the grass plant right above the soil that the leaf blades grow from. Cutting too short shocks the grass, makes it harder for the plant to absorb the sun’s rays that are key to photosynthesis, and can easily damage the crown of the grass plant.
- Rake or blow the mulched leaves under trees. Shredded leaves and fallen conifer needles also make good mulch under trees, helping to prevent moisture loss and returning nutrients to the roots. Mulch or Blow- Just make sure to get them off the lawn, as fast as possible!
There is a persistent rumour going around that cutting your lawn extremely short before the winter is beneficial, or even necessary to avoid growing mould under the snow. (some people also think that cutting extra short will somehow turn your lawn mower into a leaf-sucking vacuum cleaner..??) NEITHER ARE TRUE.
This rumour seems to arise from a misunderstanding about the plant health problems that lawn debris can cause if left over the winter. Some people seem to think that leaving ‘long’ grass leaf blades on your lawn will invite the same mould problems a carpet of tree leaves would. If you continue to mow regularly- none of this will be an issue!
Wondering how short to cut grass before winter?
Listen to the grass experts here at LawnSavers, here’s how short to cut grass before winter: The best length to cut grass before winter is 2.5-3 inches. That’s right, the same height as in the spring. If you cut the blade too short, your grass may go hungry over the winter and will likely spend the spring recovering from shock. This is the same mowing mantra we repeat all summer and is true even in the fall. There is never a valid time to mow down bluegrass, ryegrass, or fescues shorter than their healthy biologically-programmed, ideal growing height.
Stop shaving and scalping your grass down in the fall!
Perennial plants store food for the winter as temperatures drop in fall, and your grass is no exception. Grass stores carbohydrates in its roots and crown – the part of the grass plant right above the soil that the leaf blades grow from. Cutting too short shocks the grass, makes it harder for the plant to absorb the sun’s rays, and can easily damage the crown of the grass plant.
Mould grows on damp organic matter with poor air flow. If the debris – such as leaves – are in small enough pieces, air can flow properly and it will break down quickly. Mould won’t have a chance to get started!
Three studies by Michigan State University showed that if leaves are mulched to dime-sized pieces, 100 pounds of leaves (in an area as small as 1000 square feet) will break down easily. You don’t even need special equipment, a few passes with a sharpened blade on a mulching lawn mower will do the job. That means less raking and bagging, and fewer trucks hauling leaves to community compost or worse, landfill. Plus your lawn gets all those nutrients back! Just make sure you are having your lawn fertilized with a proper blend of nitrogen fertilizer to help complete the decomposition process.
Shredded leaves and fallen conifer needles also make good mulch under trees, helping to prevent moisture loss and returning nutrients to the roots. Rake or blow the needles or mulched leaves under a stand of trees and they will also benefit.
Contact The Best Lawn Fertilization And Weed Control Company Near You
If you’re looking for help with your lawn care or weed problems, look no further than the lawn experts at LawnSavers. We have over 30 years of experience helping people achieve their very best and beautiful lawns. Our effective weed control treatments can help your lawn remain lush, green, and weed-free, while we offer multiple packages to suit any budget. LawnSavers currently services the GTA including Toronto, Vaughan, Whitby, Oakville, Richmond Hill, Brampton, Newmarket and Barrie. Contact us today for your FREE estimate.