Like many states in our union, North Carolina has a “Winter Weather Preparation Week.” The National Weather Service alerts the community that it’s time to get ready for the impending winter weather. Some of these preparation tips pertain to your home (like ensuring your furnace is ready for the cold weather), or tips like having a bag of sand or kitty litter in your car’s trunk in the even you lost traction on icy roads.
Unfortunately, what the National Weather Service oft overlooks is how to prepare our lawns for the winter season. Besides, “Winter Weather Preparation Week” doesn’t happen until sometime in December, and that’s too late to prepare your lawn for winter in the High Country. So, we’re providing these tips now to help ensure your lawn lasts through the winter and comes back full in the spring.
Gradually Decrease Your Mower's Height
As the colder months approach, you may start to notice that fewer grass clippings appear when you mow the lawn. This is a sign that grass growth is winding down for the winter. Whereas in the fall, we mentioned you want to raise the mower blade, in the winter, you want to gradually lower the blade until your final mow of the season. Ideally, keep your winter lawn’s grass at a height of about two (2) inches. If it is too long, it will mat down and potentially breed snow mold. If it the grass is too short, it will be unable to manufacture and store the nutrients it needs for the winter.
Test the Soil
We sure hope you paid attention in chemistry! Just kidding…sorta. In order to have the best looking lawn in Boone come spring, you need to know how to care for your lawn, and that starts with the soil.
We recommend that you test the pH levels of your soil at least once a year to help determine if you need additional lawn applications of lime to balance out the acidity of your lawn; most North Carolina lawns do tend to the more acidic side of the pH scale.
How to Use Lime Correctly on Your Lawn
- Apply Once a Year – Lime should be applied once a year to balance the pH level of your soil
- Apply In Winter – The alternating of freezing and raining will work to the advantage of the lime application and get it into the soil
- Aerate Your Lawn Prior to Application – This is a tip rather than a must do. Simple surface applications of lime cause it to react slower. When you aerate, the lime is able to react in the soil at a much quicker rate.
Fix and Treat Lawn Bare Spots
Nothing kills the vibe of taking pride in your lawn when you have bare spots. The best time to repair and treat any bare spots in the yard is during the winter!
Use an all-in-one lawn repair mixture. These mixtures should contain grass seed, special fertilizer, and organic mulch. Loosen the soil a bit in the bare patches with a rake, then apply a thick layer of the repair mixture. Lightly pack down the mixture to completely cover the bare spot. Finally, water the mixture thoroughly every other day for two weeks. Come the spring, your lawn should be bare-spot free!
Spot Treat Pesky Weeds
While you’re at it fixing bare patches in your lawn, you might as well get rid of any pesky weeds that pop up in your lawn as well. Weeds, just like the roots and stems of grass, are busy consuming all the nutrients they can in the fall to survive the winter. We don’t want that!
That being said, weeds don’t discriminate when it comes to scarfing down whatever they can. That means we can “feed” them herbicides, and their greed will lead to their demise. To spot treat weeds, use a small pressure sprayer to shoot the invaded with herbicides. Come the spring, they’ll be but a distant memory!
Mulch Fallen Leaves
When leaves fall onto your lawn, you need to take care of them as soon as possible. Leaves on grass can quickly smother it and prevent your grass from gaining the vital nutrients they need to survive the winter. Obviously you can rake the leaves and put them in trash bags. But we live in the mountains, surrounded by trees, and leaves never seem to stop falling!
To save your back some ache from all that raking, use your mower to mulch the leaves! Mulched leaves can actually provide a substantial, and natural, source of nutrients for your grass. The leaves need to be minced; you may have to go over the leaves a few times to get them small enough. Be sure to mulch the leaves as soon as they fall as they will decompose more rapidly while the soil is still warm.
Pro Tip: Do not mulch pine needles; pine needles will smother your lawn, not enrich it.
Mountaineer Maintenance: Boone Lawncare and Landscaping Professionals
Mountaineer Maintenance is the leading provider of lawncare, landscaping, and hardscaping in Boone and the High Country. We offer a wide variety of landscaping services, lawn maintenance, property services, and retaining walls to homes and properties in Boone, North Carolina. Click the button below for your free, no obligation quote!