How do I prep my lawn for winter and next spring?

The onset of fall means it is time to start planning the future of your lawn for winter and next spring.
With summer winding down and the leaves starting to change colors, the onset of fall means it is time to start planning the future of your lawn for winter and next spring.

These five suggestions can ensure an attractive yard and continued survival during the colder months and new growth when the first signs of warmth return.

The Final Mow
It is a ritual most homeowners are happy to take a break from: mowing the lawn. When winding down towards the final mow of the season, gradually lower the cutting level on the mower to rid the lawn of any new growth. Cold weather's impact on young grass will dry it out quickly, leaving your yard brown or beige throughout the winter. If you are unsure how close to crop the grass or simply do not have the energy for all the details, consider hiring a professional yard contractor for a seasonal closeout.

Plants for Fall and Winter
Although new plant growth is generally associated with spring and summer, there are some attractive flowers and foliage that can spruce up the yard during the cold season. Consider Asters, a flower which comes in a variety of types and colors. Holly is an attractive evergreen that can grow quickly from plant size to a large bush. It adds a dash of color to the yard with stunning red berries. Juniper is another evergreen that also boasts generally year-round berries. Ornamental Kale and Cabbage have become increasingly popular for planting in fall and winter. They are very easy to maintain, add dramatic color to any landscape, and they are edible! Talk to a local greenhouse for more seasonal planting suggestions.

Aerating and Fertilizing
Aerating a lawn prior to the first freeze and an overall fertilization is paramount. Although a lawn will not utilize the fertilizer right away, it will store the nutrients, upping the chances for vibrant new growth come spring.

Clearing away leaves and snow
Leaves that pile up are a pain for homeowners, but they can also cause problems for the lawn. A build up of leaves, combined with a layer of snow, moisture and cold temperatures can leave yards with a bad case of snow mold. Keep those leaves raked during the fall and remove any snow once it arrives this winter, or what should be a green springtime yard might be spotted with brown patches instead.

Getting Ready for Next Spring
Take stock of all lawn and garden equipment (lawnmowers, weed-eaters, hedge-clippers, etc.) and make sure they are ready and sharp for new growth that lies ahead. Check out the yard for bare spots that could use some reseeding and remove any excess debris. Late winter is the time to take note of any unwanted weed growth (multiple varieties of weed killer are available at most hardware stores) and to move forward with any transplanting that needs to be done before new seasonal growth occurs.

Even though it will soon be getting colder outside, a yard can still be enjoyed year-round.

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