Think back to July. Did your lawn look brown while your neighbor’s looked emerald green? You can start to change that right now, this November. A green summer lawn actually starts months before, in the fall. You can set yourself up for a beautiful summer lawn by preparing in the autumn months.
Here are some things you can do to winterize your lawn in preparation for spring:
- Fertilize your lawn well.
- Mow your lawn lower for winter.
- Spray perennial weeds to kill their roots before winter.
- Aerate and overseed your lawn so it will grow back thicker come spring.
Fertilize Your Lawn
Warm and cool-season grasses should be fertilized at different times for the best results. Most Utah lawns are made up of cool-season grasses.
Cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass need to be fertilized before winter in order to grow well the next spring. After mowing for the last time before winter, fertilize your lawn (this will usually be in early November). The nutrients will travel down to the grass’s root system, and the roots will store the energy during the winter. In the spring, the grass will start growing earlier and healthier.
Warm-season grasses (bermudagrass, zoysia, etc.) should not be fertilized after September because it could damage the lawn roots. However, since most Utah lawns are composed of cool-season grasses, your lawn will probably be better off if you apply winterizing fertilizer in October or November.
Mow Your Lawn
Keeping your lawn long (about 3 inches) in summer is recommended because it keeps the root system cooler and encourages the grass to grow deeper roots. However, shorter grass is better for the winter months because when the grass goes dormant it’s easier for shorter grass to conserve energy.
The last time you mow your lawn for the year, lower your lawnmower setting so the grass is cut to stand about 2 inches tall. This will help the lawn focus on storing energy in the roots instead of focusing on feeding grass blades. Mowing lower will also prevent the lawn from matting and tangling. Matted grass is a concern during the winter months because it easily attracts lawn fungi such as snow mold.
Spray Weeds in Your Lawn
Fall is the perfect time to spray perennial weeds, such as dandelions and field bindweed (morning glory). These types of weeds grow from the same root system every year. During winter, perennial weeds don’t die; they go dormant instead. Spraying them with weed killer during fall will destroy the root system and prevent them from growing back in the spring. Pulling them out afterward is also a good idea.
Generally, non-selective herbicides are the only type of weed killer that can get rid of perennial weed grasses. If you choose to spray weed grasses with non-selective herbicide in the fall, be careful to avoid spraying the Kentucky bluegrass you want in your lawn because non-selective herbicide will kill any plant life it touches.
Aerate and Overseed Your Lawn
Aeration and overseeding are more effective when they are done together. If you aerate directly before overseeding your lawn, the seed is better able to penetrate into the soil along with other essential nutrients and water. This allows the seed to be more effective.
When done in the fall, aeration and overseeding set up your lawn to grow thicker and stronger in the spring. Thicker lawns are better at squeezing out weeds and preventing fungal growth.
Do you have concerns about winterizing your lawn on your own? Stewart’s can help! Our winterizing fertilizer chemical is specifically mixed to prepare your grass for winter, and our weed control will attack any broadleaf weeds. Stewarts also offers aeration and overseeding services in the fall.
Call or text us at 801-226-2261. You’ll get a green lawn with weeds gone, guaranteed.