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How to prepare your lawn for winter!

Posted by: Nick DiBenedetto on October 13, 2020

The end of the fall growing season in the North Shore is coming and your lawn will be going dormant for the winter, which means the grass stops growing upward.  Make sure it is in the best possible shape so it can be ready to go in the spring.

Adjust Mowing Height

It is recommended that during the growing season your grass should be 3 to 3 ½ inches long.  While that may seem rather high to some folks, it serves several purposes.  It shades the soil which can reduce the amount of weed seeds that germinate.  Shading the soil also helps keeps it cooler.  Because the soil is cooler, there is less water loss due to evaporation so that water is used more efficiently. 

As the temperatures begin to cool, the height should gradually be reduced over the last few times that you mow.  Your lawn mower blades should be sharp especially when you cut your lawn for the final time of the season. The final cutting height of 2 to 2 ½ inches is ideal.  While it's important to get to that final cut to 2 ½" in length, you want to get there gradually if your lawn is really tall. 

The rule of thumb to use when mowing is to never take more than a third of the grass blade off during one mowing.  If you need to get down from 3 ½" to 2 ½", it should take you a couple of mows to do it.  You'll also want to allow for a few days in between mowing for the lawn to recover from the stress.  If you haven’t started yet, you should start lowering your mower height in the next few weeks!

Why Cut It Shorter?

Tall or long grass can very easily be laid over due to rain and snow, especially if all the fall leaves haven’t been removed from the lawn.  Grass that is matted over, again, especially with leaves on top of it, will hold in moisture.  While normally moisture in the lawn is a good thing, in the winter, it can facilitate the development of the various snow mold diseases.  During a heavy snow cover winter, these fungal diseases can decimate a lawn.  It can take weeks for the grass to naturally fill these areas back in or you may need to seed an area which will interfere with the crabgrass pre-emergent being applied there in the spring. 

Use The Proper Fertilizer

Grass growth slows down as temperatures drop during the cool season of fall.  The last thing you want to do is give a large dose of nitrogen and encourage succulent new growth.  The best fertilizer to put down this time of year is one with a majority of slow release nitrogen. A "winterizer" application is important since the root system will use these nutrients during the dormant months, much like a bear does during hibernation.

In Massachusetts, you cannot, by law, apply any type of plant nutrient to your lawn after November 30th or before that if the ground is frozen. Having your local lawn care company handle all your fertilizing needs will keep you from breaking the law here in the commonwealth and ensure your lawn has the food it needs to come back strong and early next spring. 

Get More Info From The Pros!

Looking for more information on grass height or just ready to let the professionals take over your lawn care needs? The Grassmaster Plus team is ready and willing to answer any questions you have and can provide you a free quote on your lawn care services for the season. Contact our local office today!