While winter lawn care is certainly less involved than what’s required in other seasons, your yard still needs a bit of TLC in order to remain healthy. Most of your autumn prep work should be completed by now. But here in the North Texas where the winters are fairly mild, there are still a few measures you can take to fortify your grass bed.
Many cool-weather grasses, especially fescues, can be planted “on top of” your primary turf grass. This is a great way to keep your lawn green over the winter. There are a few things, however, that you want to consider beforehand.
While overseeding can be applied adjacent to your final fertilizer application of the season, you want to be sure the requirements of the 2 grasses match closely enough. Some grass seed requires a moderate amount of fertilizer to provide a strong start, whereas established grasses can experience chemical burns if they’re over-fertilized right as they begin to go dormant. Be sure the needs of the two grass types are similar enough that you don’t risk harming one or the other.
Additionally, you need to compare the irrigation needs of your grass seed to be sure they’re compatible with your local weather forecast. If you choose a cool weather grass that requires a few waterings once planted, be sure you don’t spread the seed just prior to the first winter freeze.
Cleaning and Mowing
Most diligent lawn care advocates have already completed their fall cleaning routine by this time of year, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to neglect debris that builds up throughout the winter. Additionally, as you prepare for your final mowing session, you want to adjust your blade height gradually rather than abruptly.
Our temperate winters allow for occasional yard cleanup days, which are perfect for raking the yard and clearing debris from beneath your shrubs. A nice deep rake can actually help your topsoil breathe a bit better, so long as you make sure not to do so right after overseeding. Keep in mind that dry leaves can simply be mowed over for natural mulching.
As your grass growth slows, best practice is to lower your mower blades incrementally. Dropping from 2.5 inches to only one can be harsh on the blades, so try to fit in an intermediate height if you’ve got a couple of mowing sessions left. And remember that too-short blades can leave your grass and topsoil vulnerable to the dropping temperatures.
Speaking of blade growth slowing down, your grass bed shifts its energy to the root system in the cooler months. This helps fortify your lawn for optimal survival through the winter, and you can help it along by aerating.
If you are already experiencing frost or below-freezing temperatures, this task may be better kept for next autumn. But weather permitting, aerating your lawn in early winter can give the roots a boost of water and nutrients. Core aerators can be rented from your local home and garden store if you don’t own one.
For more helpful advice about winter lawn care, here is some advice about Winterizing Your Trees and Shrubs.