I’m pleased to have guest writer, Katie Kuchta, talk about winterizing your yard. Even though we’ve already experienced some snow and cold temperatures here in Colorado Springs, it’s not too late to consider these tips, especially given our area’s unique temperature variance and elevation.
Most of our transitional outdoor maintenance for seasonal changes is all in preparation for spring and summer. Thinking ahead, in order to have a full and lush green yard, you want to make sure you care it for year round, even if you think there’s nothing that needs to be done. Yes, it is in fact minimal work, but it is important and will be worth it.
What is winterizing?
Winterizing is the process of transitioning and preparing your lawn care for winter. You’ll want to do this by focusing on fall lawn care prior and using a fertilizer that will help maintain the soils strength in the cooler months and help to activate grass roots when it gets closer to its growth season.
First, make sure you understand what type of grass you have: cool or warm season. This is vital for winterizing in particular, although both types of grass need to transition, cool season grass types require some extra attention. Warm season grass types don’t require such attention due to the state of dormancy that they go into during the winter.
Due to Colorado Springs’ temperatures and elevation, cool season grasses are the primary grass types so winterizing your yard is necessary. Cool season grass types that are common in Colorado Springs include bluegrass and tall fescue.
You’ll want to make sure that you have been practicing proper lawn care maintenance, before you winterize your yard. The basics for pre-winterizing or fall lawn care include making sure you continue to mow and keep the grass at a healthy length, water accordingly, remove weeds and debris, aerate, and use a fertilizing.
Clean up the lawn
Frequency of mowing and watering will start to slow down with the temperature dropping. Make sure to keep the grass at a healthy length. Depending on the specific grass type this could vary, but a good rule of thumb is keeping it at 2 ½ – 3 inches. Not too long or too short to where the roots may become susceptible to diseases that can destroy its growth potential in the spring.
Removing any and all debris, including fallen leaves, weeds, and any spent plants. Although the fall foliage of fallen leaves is a beautiful transition of the seasons, it’s not so sweet to your lawn’s health. The leaves can essentially smother the grass when they become matted and stick together, also posing as a threat for diseases or stress.
Aeration is important when transitioning your lawn care, especially if you only do this once a year, fall is the best time to do so. This process allows the lawn to breathe from the roots up, helping maintain a strong and healthy soil throughout the winter months in turn for a lush lawn in the summer.
This is where the term winterize really gets put into play. Fertilizing your cool-season grass type in now is important since they grow the strongest in the fall. Applying a fertilizer around this time, October or November, essentially helps the lawn to hibernate. Meaning that feeding your lawn around this time of the year will allow the roots to store the nutrients needed for it to get through the winter months.
Before applying a fertilizer, you’ll want to do a soil test on your lawn to make sure you know what the soils pH levels are. This is important because you don’t want to over or under fertilize your lawn, it’s also a great reminder to let you know how healthy your lawn is. Doing a soil test will definitely let you know how much fertilizer to use.
Once you understand the status of your lawn post soil test, apply fertilizer as needed. Visit a local garden center or nursery for additional help finding the right fertilizer for your grass type.
About the Writer
Katie Kuchta is a gardening guru, outdoor living expert, and self-proclaimed foodie. She can often be found cooking in the kitchen or on the hunt for the best tacos, follow her on Instagram @atxtacoqueen.
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