Farm Store | articles | Winterizing your lawn

Winterizing your lawn

Prepare Your Yard For Next Year

As summer fades, it's easy to put the mower away and forget about yard work. Take advantage of fall's cooler temperatures to prepare your yard for winter – and next spring. Certain tasks completed in the autumn can lead to greener, thicker grass next season.

Mowing

A lawn in the winter with frost on the grassIt's recommended that your mower be set at three to three-and-half inches during the regular mowing season. Mow as usual during the fall to retain the nutrients in the blades of grass. As fall comes to an end, lower the mower to two-inches to two-and-a-half-inches for the last few cuttings of the season.

The shorter length keeps moisture from gathering between the blades of grass that can result in diseases in the spring. It also prevents them from bending over on top of each other when snow falls. Such matting also can cause disease.

Leave the grass clippings on the lawn during the last mowing, as the nutrients benefit your lawn. Mulching mowers make this task particularly easy, as the clippings are finely shredded.

After the season's final mowing, drain the gasoline out of the mower. Have it serviced and the blade sharpened now, so it's ready to go in the spring.

Thatch and leaves

More than just grass clippings, thatch is an accumulation of roots, stems, dead grass and other plant debris at the base of the grass. Heavy raking removes this thick and tangled barrier, so air and water can reach the soil.

Lawn aeration helps lawns with hard, compacted soil. By removing small plugs of soil, aeration allows water, light and air to reach the roots. Aeration and dethatching both allow fertilizer nutrients to better penetrate the soil and strengthen the roots.

Leaves left on top of the grass can smother your yard by blocking light and limiting air circulation. Rake them up regularly throughout the season. To maximize your effort, compost the leaves for next year's mulch.

Even though the grass may be going dormant, pesky weeds can still sprout up. Keep next year's weeds to a minimum by applying a broadleaf weed control treatment now.

Overseeding

Repair bare spots by reseeding. Autumn usually has enough rain and warmth for the seed to germinate. Planting grass seed in September allows the grass to germinate and become established this year. However, determine if falling leaves and subsequent raking will disturb the area that's being seeded. If so, wait until spring to reseed those areas.

To reseed bare spots, dethatch and rake the areas thoroughly. Loosen the soil to a depth of about one-inch. Apply the proper amount and type of lawn fertilizer.

Use a grass seed blend that's specifically suited for the location, such as a shady or sunny mix. Sow the seed sparingly by hand to avoid wasting seed and money. Water regularly until the new grass is about three inches tall.

Grass seed also can be planted later in the autumn. The seeds go dormant when winter arrives and snow cover won't harm them. The seeds then germinate in the early spring when temperatures and rainfall are again favorable.

Watering

Adequate watering of the entire lawn in the fall, about one-inch weekly, ensures the grass has enough water to overwinter. A good soaking also activates the fall application of fertilizer.

If you live in an area that has a mild winter with little rain or snowfall, the lawn may need water at times throughout the winter months. Watering isn't needed in areas with snowfall and winter rains.

In cold temperature climates, drain your irrigation system and outdoor faucets to avoid broken pipes. Properly store garden hoses and sprinklers.

Southern States Cooperative welcomes your fall lawn tips for a greener lawn next spring. Share them here.

Related Products

More Products Like This:
Grid View
List View
  • Southern States Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue 50 lb

    SKU 02132070
    Selected for its improved traits and ease of establishment in lawns, Southern States Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue is guaranteed to produce a fresh, light green color. Ideal for average lawn use, Kentucky 31 is heat, drought and disease resistant, and great for areas with heavy foot traffic.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Annual Ryegrass 40 lb

    SKU 02142022
    Southern States Annual Ryegrass is a bunchgrass with shiny, dark green blades that grow 2 to 3 feet tall. It's a highly nutritious pasture grass seed for foraging livestock, and also perfect for hay or silage. Ryegrass is also used widely for erosion control. September or early October are generally the best months to plant Southern States Ryegrass seed to ensure lush pastures come spring.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Grass Contractors Mixture 50 lb

    SKU 02142990
    Southern States Grass Contractors Mixture is an economical mixture of 50% turf type tall fescue and 50% annual ryegrass grass seed used to provide quick, green ground cover for new home/construction sites. If starting from bare ground, plant a rate of 10-15 lbs per 1,000 square feet.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Fria Annual Ryegrass 50 lb

    SKU 02142065
    Southern States Fria Annual Ryegrass not only delivers outstanding yields in the south, but also has exceptional cold tolerance that helps in fall establishment and winter survival throughout the transition zone and further north. This grass seed is an excellent choice for forage, as a cover crop, or even as a deterrent to soil erosion, and it was developed to be highly disease-resistant. For pasture management and high-yield forage production, seed Southern States Fria Annual Ryegrass into dormant warm season grass pastures or after wheat and corn silage harvest. It will provide grazing, hay, haylage or greenchop for your livestock through the winter and spring.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Centurion Multi-Purpose Garden Sprayer 1 gal

    SKU 10222355
    The Centurion Multi-Purpose Garden Sprayer features a funnel top for easy filling, a built in pressure relief valve and side measuring marks for easy viewing of liquid levels. The trigger locks on for continuous spraying. Made of polyethylene for durability. Comes with a 4-foot hose and shoulder strap.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Premium Shadescape Mixture Grass Seed 20 lb

    SKU 02142484
    Southern States Premium Shadescape Grass Seed Mixture is perfect for dense shade areas in home lawns, parks, commercial sites or any turf application a top quality shade mix is desired. A premium mixture of improved fine fescue, tall fescue and perennial ryegrass selected for their performance under low light conditions, Southern States Premium Shadescape Grass Seed Mixture is designed to provide excellent performance in dense shade, where other products will not grow.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Premium Tall Fescue with Eco-Green Applied Science 20 lb

    SKU 02142642
    Southern States Premium Tall Fescue with Eco-Green Applied Science is a premium mixture of Dwarf Turf Type Tall Fescue varieties selected for their slow growth, shorter plant height and superior turf quality. These characteristics will provide you with the best looking lawn in the neighborhood and save you time and money by allowing for less mowing, fewer clippings and less equipment wear. Our Premium Tall Fescue with Eco-Green Applied Science offers a superior tolerance to heat and drought as well as heightened resistance to diseases such as brown patch, pythium and rust. This seed features a safe and non-toxic ALL-VANTAGE coating with AquaBond for optimal water absorption and Nutri-Start to provide essential micronutrients.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue Lawn & Garden and Field Seed 5 lb

    SKU 02132073
    Selected for its improved traits and ease of establishment in lawns, Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue Lawn & Garden and Field Seed is guaranteed to produce a fresh, light green color. Ideal for average lawn use, Kentucky 31 is heat, drought and disease resistant, and perfect for areas with heavy foot traffic.
    to see pricing & availability

Find Your Nearest Southern States Location

Sales & Offers