You might feel prepared for winter in Northern Virginia. You’ve probably located your ice scraper in your garage or storage area and put it in your trunk or backseat in case you need it. Maybe you’ve saved some great recipe ideas for upcoming holiday get-togethers. And you may have also found your family’s sleds or snowman accessories, as well as holiday decorations and lights, so you’re ready for winter plans.
What you probably haven’t thought about, though, is your lawn. I mean, it’s going to be covered in snow anyway, so what kind of preparation does it really need, right? 
Actually, thinking your lawn needs no winter prep would be wrong. You can certainly do a few key things now to ensure a healthier, happier lawn come springtime. 
Let’s talk about preparing your lawn for winter and how this can help reduce your spring stress and elevate your home lawn’s health for the coming seasons.

How To Prepare Your Lawn For Winter: Important Tasks To Put On Your To-Do List

Preparing your lawn for winter actually helps get it better prepared for the coming spring’s flush of growth. And it’s really essential to ensure a healthy lawn. You do want a healthy, great-looking lawn, right?  
Here are some of the key elements that make up a good lawn prep for winter program in Northern Virginia.

This Is Your Last Chance To Tackle Weeds For The Season

You really want to take every chance you have to get rid of nasty weeds in your home lawn in Northern Virginia. And just before winter, you have one more shot to get this done. 

lawn care technician spot sprays for weeds

Many different weeds germinate at many different times of year. There are quite a few that germinate in fall, survive the winter, and then actively grow once spring returns. 
Fall weed control helps you as you’re preparing your lawn for winter by tackling weed seeds that germinate later in the year. If you act now to decrease your weeds, you’ll be relieved you focused on these efforts come springtime.

Don’t Forget Your Fall Fertilization

Your kids or your pets let you know when they’re hungry or when you’re out of groceries. But your home lawn’s roots aren’t so talkative. They just sit quietly … but they are actually pretty hungry on a regular basis – and not just during spring and summer. 
Fertilizing your lawn in the fall with a slow-release, granular fertilizer is how to prepare your lawn for winter right.
In fact, fall fertilization is a key piece of year-long lawn care because it builds strong root systems and overall healthier lawns. Conditions during September through December are perfect for root growth. Roots can’t grow all year long. During autumn is when grass plants put all of their focus into growing roots deeper into the soil, helping to stabilize your lawn. 

lawn care technician fertilizes grass

A thicker lawn also better survives overwintering, resulting in less desiccation or winter damage. 
Caring for a lawn before winter also gives your lawn the strength to handle summer, believe it or not. Summer’s heat and drought can do a number on your lawn. It can dry out, thin, or even develop bare spots. When you develop the roots before winter, the thicker growth that results from a strong base helps your lawn better stand up to summer drought. This thicker lawn also helps it better repel weed growth.
Remember, if you don’t give your lawn the nutrients it needs before winter, it might not have the energy it needs to grow green and thick like you want it to. This final fertilization can help you get the spring growth you’re seeking so your lawn is ready to enjoy during those warmer months.

Remove Anything That Can Harm Your Lawn

After the great autumn show that your trees put on in Northern Virginia with ruby reds, bright oranges, golden yellows, rich burgundies, and perfect plums, those leaves fall on your lawn. And this is not a nice blanket that your lawn would like to stay warm in winter. In fact, your lawn would prefer quite the opposite: they’d prefer not to be suffocated by wet leaves. 
Lawn prep for winter includes cleaning up your lawn before snow begins falling. If you leave piles of grass clippings and soggy leaves on your lawn, this could weaken it and cause some wear and tear that you’ll have to address come springtime. 

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Keeping up with the leaves can feel incredibly overwhelming. It seems like the second you clean them up, the lawn is full of leaves again. But this is an important part of winter lawn prep. 
To do this, you can mulch leaves with your mulching lawn mower, and they will decompose and add plant-usable organic matter to your lawn soil. If you can’t mulch them, rake them up or blow them into piles and dispose of or remove them to help your lawn not only look fresh, but also be better prepared for winter.

Begin Reducing Lawn Irrigation

The cooler temperatures and shorter days that autumn brings means you don’t have to water your lawn as much. 

sprinkler head waters grass

Remember to adjust your irrigation system or watering schedule as a result as part of your lawn prep for winter. You don’t want to overwater now and encourage lawn disease – not to mention waste water in the process. 
In Northern Virginia, you usually don’t have to water your lawn after about mid-October.

Don’t Neglect Aeration, Overseeding, And Topdressing

Lawn prep for winter includes reducing compaction. That means aeration, overseeding, and topdressing.

lawn care technician aerates grass in the fall

Aeration is the removal of small soil plugs, and it gives your tired, worn, compacted lawn a chance to more easily receive oxygen, nutrients, and water at the root-level where it’s needed most. Overseeding is the perfect addition to aeration because those removed plugs create the ideal holes for grass seed to contact the soil. This improves the germination process considerably, making overseeding more successful in strengthening and thickening your lawn. And topdressing adds good organic matter to the soil to improve its health.

Mow a Little Shorter Than Usual Before Finishing Mowing For the Season

While you’ve done a good job keeping your lawn at a 3- to 4-inch height all spring and summer long, now it’s time to finally reduce your mowing height a bit to help prevent snow mold and any other damage winter can bring. 

lawn care expert cuts grass

But you still don’t want to mow shorter than 2.5 inches to maximize lawn health as you’re preparing your lawn for winter.

Stake Your Driveway to Help Prevent Winter Lawn Damage

Winter can be mild or it can be a bit heavier. Either way, you have to sometimes clean up after snow and ice during these colder months, and that can do a number on your lawn.
To help you keep your lawn protected from your snow plow, snow shovels, and other snow clearing machines, you can place snow stakes at the edges of your lawn to mark where the pavement ends and the lawn begins. This lawn prep for winter reduces the chance of snow plow or snow blower damage to your lawn or other components, such as your irrigation system.

Remember To Hire A Lawn Care Pro

When it comes to lawn prep for winter, it can be hard to figure out what products work best and also have the right equipment to do the job properly. You might not even know how or have the time to properly carry out all of these steps.

lawn care expert unloads fertilization machine

When you hire a lawn care professional in Northern Virginia, you eliminate any worries, hassles, or incorrect applications. Your lawn gets fertilized at the right time with the right nutrients to ensure deep root growth and a thicker, greener appearance, and it’s always ultimately prepared for winter.

Have Questions About Preparing Your Lawn For Winter? Trust Turf’s Up

When you and your family are all cozy inside under blankets and near a warm fire watching television during a Northern Virginia winter, you want to make sure your lawn is tucked in for the season, too. 

By investing in a complete, proactive lawn care program – including lawn prep for winter – you can continue to improve and protect your lawn. 
Not sure if your lawn is ready? Give Turf’s Up a call. We can create a program for your lawn so that your soil gets the nutrients it needs to create thick, green grass with few to no weeds. Then all you have to do is settle in for winter and enjoy the season knowing your lawn is taken care of. 
Ready to learn why Turf’s Up could be your totally awesome choice for lawn care services in Northern Virginia? We’re stoked to learn more about you and help you have the best lawn on the block. Get started today with a free quote. Together, we can prepare a customized plan that is perfect for you and your lawn. 
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Image Source: rake and leaves