Most people don’t give their landscaping undue attention during the winter months, when the majority of plants tend to go into hibernation. Of course, there are trees that stay green throughout the winter, but it’s not as if you need to water them. And your lawn is likely hidden under a blanket of snow. So really, what is there to be done? In truth, you might be surprised to learn that your lawn does better when you care for it year-round, and that includes winter care in preparation for spring. However, you may also want to observe eco-friendly practices, eschewing chemical fertilizers and other treatments in favor of natural, sustainable, and organic options. So if you’re looking for ways to ensure a healthy, gorgeous, and chemical-free lawn come spring and summer, here are just a few tips for organic winter care that are sure to do the trick.
- Rake the yard. When frost starts to strike, you know snow is coming soon. So now is a great time to get started with your efforts at winter lawn care. You’ll want to remove all the leaves and dead grass that build up throughout the fall before they get covered with snow and ice or turn into a muddy mess thanks to seasonal rain and sleet. So get out there with your rake and collect dead leaves and other debris. This will ensure that the spring thaw doesn’t leave you with a lawn that’s trying to grow through layers of half-decayed leaves and other organic matter. Better yet, compost it all in preparation for spring.
- Feed. You should have no problem finding products like turf builders that are designed to be used late in the year, and there are all kinds of organic options on the market, such as Espoma Organic Fall Winterizer, Everwood Farm Organic Bio-Turf, and Scotts Organic Lawn Fertilizer, just to name a few. Not only do these products lay dormant until spring alongside your lawn, feeding nutrients to hibernating grass, but they also help to protect and bolster the root system to ensure green shoots when spring comes around. In truth, you should use these products twice for best results; once in fall and once before the winter weather gets too harsh. It probably won’t work well on frozen ground, so early winter is the best time to deliver your final feeding. Some also recommend an additional application in the spring.
- Seed. Many people mistakenly believe that the best time to re-seed the lawn is during the spring, but in fact, you’re better off completing this task just before winter strikes in force. The reason is that the runoff and rain of spring can wash away seed before it has time to take root. So getting grass roots growing before the shoots come up in spring is essential to successful seeding.
- Aerate the soil. Before you seed and feed your lawn you want to make sure that all of the hydration and nutrients you’re adding will actually make their way to the root system. The easiest way to do this is by aerating the soil, and there are a couple of options. Although a gas-powered aerator may be quicker, you might not want to burn up fossil fuels in your quest to bring oxygen and nutrients to your lawn’s root system. Instead, consider using a piece of rebar and a rubber mallet to punch holes in the soil.
- Weed. It might seem silly to weed in the winter, but unless you want your grass getting choked out all winter, unseen, you should probably continue to weed until snow cover makes it impossible. The most vivid lawns come spring will be the ones that are best maintained in winter and fall, so keep mowing, weeding, and watering as late into the season as you can.