How to Prepare Your Yard for Winter [3 Tips]

A wheelbarrow in a yard with leaves and a rake

It may come as a surprise to hear, but the end of summer isn’t actually the end of your lawn care. Fall is a perfect time and in some cases, better than summer when it comes to seeding and feeding your yard. Nyberg’s Ace is coming in hot with some great tips on how to preserve your lawn come winter and keep things green until spring.

Tip #1 Knowing Your Soil

Before you pack up your mower for the winter, know that grass actually keeps growing through fall. You’ll want to watch your grass and the weather conditions. Your grass will typically keep growing until around October or early November when temperatures drop below 50°F during the day. Until then cut regularly and make sure it gets half an inch of water each week.

Making sure your grass has the right amount of water is crucial in the months before winter. Giving too little water could result in what’s known as stress dormancy, a state when your lawn goes into forced hibernation due to dry soil. This can affect your root growth and yellow out your lawn.

Now everyone has a different lawn and different soil, so there’s no way we can tell you exactly how long you need to water your lawn in order to get the roots excited to grow. Instead, we’ll suggest you grab a soil probe, check your lawn’s soil, and see how far down the water is penetrating. A good measurement is going 6-8 inches down and making sure your soil is not too wet and not dry.

Luster Leaf Analog Soil Moisture is a great choice as an easy-to-use and quick-to-start option. For more options and help on your lawn concerns head over to Nyberg’s Ace.

Tip #2 Prepping Your Grass

Now that we’ve gotten to know your lawn’s soil let’s start prepping your lawn and talk about the maintenance it’ll need during the colder months. We all love long grass, but sadly in order to keep your grass green for the fall, you’ll want to give it a good trim. Don’t worry, this is all for the best. When the temperature gets low, long grass can develop fungal problems such as snow mold.

Before you start cutting from four inches down to one inch, take our advice and instead cut less height more frequently. Let us explain. When you increase the frequency in which you mow, that gives you the opportunity to ease your lawn into a shorter height. So instead of cutting heavy once a week and stressing out the grass, you can do moderate height drops 2-3 times a week.

Another option is to wait until your grass stops growing around October and November, at which point cutting a large amount of height off your grass will be safer and put less strain on your lawn. Now the downside to that is once you cut your grass down it may look like hay all winter long instead of having that nice rich color leading into spring.

Yard cleanup is a huge help and important in keeping your lawn healthy and prepared for winter. As much as we love our mowers, they are not perfect. Debris from cuts and falling leaves of the fall season can suffocate our lawns when ignored for too long. Fungus loves to grow and create brown patches in these suffocated areas of our lawns which is why we need to clean them out.

Our simple solution to this problem is the Earthwise Electric Dethatcher. It fits like a glove in almost every yard and is a fully electric grass rake so no harmful fumes are emitted into your grass.

Tip #3 Choosing a Fertilizer

Our last tip for prepping your lawn this fall season is picking a solid winter prep fertilizer. Remember that we’re not prioritizing the top growth of your lawn but root growth. We want your lawn to have the nutrients it needs when winter comes and the soil begins to dry out.

Now we all know that nitrogen is an essential macronutrient for plant function as it is a key component of amino acids, which form the building blocks of plant proteins and enzymes. A fertilizer with around 7% or higher nitrogen would do your lawn a lot of good. The second thing you should prioritize in fertilizer would be potassium. Potassium gives your grass the strength it needs to fight off the stress, drought, and fungi of winter. So to protect our cool-season grass and make sure it survives the frigid cold winter air, find a fertilizer that has both high nitrogen and high potassium.

We recommend Scotts Turf Builder Winter Guard Fall Lawn Food. It checks our boxes coming in with a 32% nitrogen and 10% potassium as well as delivers nutrients to repair root damage ensuring stronger grass in the spring.

The Helpful Lawn & Garden Place

For more information or maybe an even easier breakdown of this information come find the Lawn & Garden staff at Nyberg’s Ace. We are specially trained to help you identify exactly what your yard needs. We’ll point you to the right products and tools so you can get to enjoying your lawn again.

In addition to grass seeds, feeds, and fertilizers, we offer the widest selection of lawn and gardening products in the region—from flowers and pots to mowers, pest control, and beyond. Swing by today!