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Best Ways to Protect Your Yard During the Winter

autumn big treeFrom mowing the lawn to pulling weeds, there are many things to do during the spring, summer, and fall to keep your yard looking green and beautiful. Come winter, some people mistakenly think there’s no yard work to be done. And then, when springtime arrives, they are surprised and disappointed by the brown mess that’s left behind after the snow and ice melts.

How to Prepare Your Yard for the Winter

If you want to enjoy a lush, healthy yard come springtime, there are several important things you should do in the fall and winter to prepare and protect your yard during the cold season.

Remove Leaves

A thick layer of leaves left on your lawn from the fall season will prevent your grass from getting the air and nutrients it needs to survive during the winter. Rain, ice, and snow will also cause the leaves to become very wet, which will increase the likelihood of diseases.

Mow Your Lawn Low

Plan your last mow in late fall when you can see that your grass is no longer growing. During this last mow, cut the grass lower than you normally would, leaving it at about 2 to 2.5 inches high.

Drain Your Sprinklers

When temperatures drop below freezing point, any water left inside sprinkler pipes will freeze, causing damage to your entire sprinkler system. Different sprinkler systems have different methods for draining, so be sure to check your instruction manual or ask a professional.

Aerate Before the First Freeze

During the warmer spring and summer months, we tend to spend more time on our lawn. Frequent foot traffic and heavy objects placed on your lawn cause the soil underneath to become dry and compacted. Aeration solves this problem by making holes in the grass and soil. This allows air and water to penetrate so that the grass roots can get the nutrients they need before becoming dormant for the winter.

Fertilize Before the First Freeze

Soil tends to lose a lot of nutrients during the dry months of summer. A “winterizing” or slow-release fertilizer is your best option to ensure your soil stays well-nourished throughout the winter.

Protect Plants and Flower Beds

Without the necessary protection measures, plants and flower beds can die in the winter. Prepare them before the ground freezes by taking these steps:

  • Remove weeds
  • Remove dead annual plants
  • Cover soil in compost or manure to enhance and condition
  • Add a thick layer of mulch to insulate and protect soil and plant roots

How to Protect Your Yard During the Winter

shovel snowTaking care of your yard in the colder months requires different tactics than maintaining your lawn in the warmth of summer.

Stop Watering

Stop watering your lawn when the ground freezes. This usually happens around late October or early November in Chicagoland.

You may begin watering again once the ground temperature rises above the freezing point. Be sure to check the ground temperature with a soil thermometer, however, since it is usually lower than the air temperature.

Leave Snow on the Grass

Snow insulates grass from the icy winter air. When your lawn gets blanketed with snow, just leave it alone and enjoy the view.

Don’t Shovel Snow onto Your Lawn

When you wake up in the morning to a thick layer of snow on your driveway or front sidewalk, an easy solution may be to shovel the snow onto your lawn. Doing this causes damage to your grass, however, for two reasons:

  • Compaction – The weight of the snow piled onto the grass will cause the soil to compact. If you must shovel the snow onto your lawn, spread it out rather than piling it high.
  • Harmful ice melting products – Salt or ice melting products are very harmful to your lawn. If you can’t avoid getting salt-treated snow on your grass, make sure that you are using a product made with calcium chloride rather than sodium chloride (rock salt). A good watering done as soon as the ground temperature rises above freezing will also help to wash away harmful salt products and minimize damage to your grass.

Minimize Traffic

Grass that is frozen or covered in snow is more delicate. Frequent walking or driving over it will cause damage that will show up as bare patches in the spring. Try to avoid walking on your grass when it is frozen and don’t allow anyone to park their car on your grass either.

Contact Daybreaker Landscapes for All Your Yard Care Needs Today

Your lush, green yard brings you much pride and joy in the spring and summer. Why let the cold winter months ruin it? Since 2010, Daybreaker Landscapes has been helping Chicagoland customers prepare and protect their yard for the winter to ensure the best results come spring and summer. Call our Lake in the Hills landscapers at (815) 596-0070 or contact us online to find out how we can help you.