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Prepping Your Lawn For A Long Winter

Posted by: Nick DiBenedetto on December 5, 2023

The end of the fall growing season in the North Shore is here and your lawn is going dormant for the winter, which means the grass stops growing upward.  Making sure it is prepped for the long winter ahead ensures it will be ready to go in the spring!

Adjust Your 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.  Make sure your lawn mower blades are 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 here in the North Shore, 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 to  your lawn 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. 

Get More Info From The Pros!

Looking for more information on winter lawn prep 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. Simply call 978-769-3595 or click HERE!