Winter Lawn Care - How to Winterize Your Lawn

Mowing Seed Watering Winter

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and that means it's time for your lawn to get ready. Yes, winter is coming (pun intended). And with all those cold nights ahead, you'll need to make sure your lawn is prepared by taking care of some important tasks before frost starts setting in. We're here to help you take a look at how to prepare your lawn for winter so it can stay green through the colder months.

We've got everything from what type of soil makes a good choice for freezing climates to how much water should be applied during this period and finally whether or not fertilizers are necessary when preparing for winter weather conditions. If you want more information on any of these topics then keep on reading!

When to Start Winterizing Your Lawn 

You may be wondering “When do I need to start winterizing my lawn?” In simple terms, it’s best to know what kind of grass you have. If you have cool season grass such as Fescue or Bluegrass, it’s advisable to start winterizing your lawn in two separate applications, once in the late summer/early fall and the second application during the late fall. If you choose to do this only once a year, it’s best to do it before the snow falls. In most places, you should aim to apply your winter fertilizer in October or November. With the warm season grasses such as Bermuda or Zoysia grass, you would start to fertilize in early fall. In these areas, do not fertilize after September 1. If you do, you will risk fueling new growth that will be damaged by the freezing weather. 

 

lawn winterizer

 

Overseeding Lawn in the Fall 

Woo-hoo! It’s time now to over seed your lawn. The cool-season grass seeds germinate best when the soil temperatures are between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Which means the daytime temperatures need to be roughly between 60-75 degrees. The warm-season grass seeds germinate best when the soil temperatures are between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Which means the daytime temperatures are 80 degrees Fahrenheit and above. By overseeding your lawn over your existing lawn, you can thicken up your lawn into the lush green that you’ve always wanted, giving less room for weeds to grow.

 

Fall Overseeding

How to Take Care of Your Lawn in Winter

Aerate and Fertilize. Next, you would start feeding your lawn with an easy-to-use fertilizer such as Covington’s MicroMAX. After fertilizing, water deeply (about 20 minutes) and then apply mulch around plants such as roses or perennials which need protection from the onslaught of heavy freezes and temperature extremes. The different types of mulch fluctuate with the seasons. Great mulch types for the winter include bark chips, shredded bark, straw, evergreen bough and other loose, coarse textured organic materials. After you get your fertilizer down, it’s time to aerate! Using the Liquid Lawn Aerator will help improve your chances of getting down deep into the soil compared to mechanical aeration, also called core aeration. Liquid aeration provides coverage for the entire lawn, as mechanical aeration only goes into the plug holes and leaves the plugs on the ground. As you may know, mechanical aeration is immediate, but not long lasting. As liquid aeration will have less immediate impact, but the effects are longer lasting and cumulative, so your results get better over time. If you have extremely compacted or clay soil it might be better to do both. By doing both it will help the Liquid Aerator penetrate the lawn more effectively, allowing it to work better and faster. For more tips and tricks about overseeding or even some questions, they can be answered here: https://covingtonnaturals.com/blogs/news/seed-before-or-after-aerating

Winterizing Your Gas Mower

How the heck do you winterize your gas lawn mower? A quick few steps will help you understand how to do this simple task. 

  • Empty the gas tank- By emptying the gas tank, you prevent your mower from breakdown. Fuel that has been left inside a mower over the winter can ruin parts of it, specifically gumming up the carburetor and inviting rust. To combat this issue, add fuel stabilizer to your gas tank first before using or storing it for next season. 
  • Disconnect the spark plugs- By disconnecting the spark plugs, you prevent the mower from accidently kick-starting. Resulting in serious injuries. 
  • Removing the mower blades- Removing the blades is a quick and easy task. Using an appropriate size socket wrench, you turn left for a standard bolt and right for a reverse threaded one. Remember to wear gloves when handling the blades! 
    winterize lawn mower
  • Drain the oil- It is recommended to change the oil of a 4-cycle engine mower at the end of every season. Have a pan ready and place tarp under it so any residual gas or spills don't make their way into other components in case they splatter during the draining process. Carefully tip over the mower, keeping the air filter pointed upwards while tilting until all old oil drains out from the crank case  before replacing the drain plug again for safekeeping after finishing the draining procedure. 
  • Clean the undercarriage- The grass, mud, rust, debris etc. stuck on the undercarriage should come off easily with a wire brush and a putty knife. Once this has been done, reattach the sharpened blades.
  • Changing the air filter- A dirty air filter keeps the engine from burning gas efficiently by restricting the air needed for combustion. If your mower has a paper filter, replace it with a new one; if it's an oil-soaked sponge filter, remove and clean thoroughly before adding back in some fresh oil to prevent further damage. Finally clear any dirt out of its cooling fins using something like a screwdriver or popsicle stick - this will make sure that nothing is restricting airflow between these parts either!
  • Replacing the spark plugs- Take the new spark plug and slowly twist it into place finger tight. You can use either regular socket or a spark plug socket to finish tightening it by only turning a quarter of a turn. If you're replacing an old one, it's best to take the old spark plug with you to get the correct sizing — they cost just a couple of dollars!
  • Safely stow away any combustibles-  Store gasoline in a detached garage or shed away from any ignition source. Use only an approved container for storing gasoline. Adding a fuel stabilizer will help preserve freshness for up to one year.
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    What Happens if You Don’t Winterize Your Lawn Mower?

    Not getting your gas mower ready for the winter can have some pretty severe consequences. If you forgot to winterize your gas-powered lawn mower, there’s a pretty great chance that it won’t start in the spring. You could end up clogging the fuel system or even corroding the carburetor. If this has unfortunately happened to you, don’t give up! Chances are you can do a complete tune-up on your mower, and it works just fine, depending on the condition of your mower, what the winter was like and whether or not you have been keeping up with the preventative maintenance on your mower. 

     

    how to winterize your lawn

     

    How to Winterize Your Lawn Sprinklers

    Who knew that you had to winterize your lawn sprinklers? In most places, you probably shut down your sprinkler system in the fall and turn it back on again in the spring. In just four easy steps you can safely winterize your lawn sprinkler system. 

     

    winterize lawn sprinklers
  • Shut Off the Water- You might be surprised to learn that the first step is shutting off your water supply with a valve near where you meter seems. If your system has valves for preventing backflow, shut these off as well. You will find two of these valves leading into the device; make sure both are turned off. In case if it doesn't have potable water and use no such devices then there may not be any kind of back-flow preventer or check valve in place at all!
  • Turn Off the Timer- If your system runs on an automatic timer, make sure you shut that off too. Turn the rain mode to "off" in spring so it can resume working normally during summer months and turn off any other modes as well if they are unnecessary for wintertime use of your irrigation or sprinkler system.
  • Drain the Water- It’s not enough just to keep water from flowing into the system; you also need to drain out the water that’s already in there. This is the biggest and most time-consuming step in the process, but it’s absolutely vital.
  • Insulate Above-Ground Components- Make sure that the main shut-off valve, any exposed pipes or backflow preventers are properly insulated from the weather. The insulation should be made of foam covers or insulation tape. Be careful not to block air vents and drain outlets on a backflow preventer when using this type of material for an insulator. Remember, when in doubt, double check the user manual! 
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    The Famous Ryan Knorr Talks Winter Lawn Care

    The Final Touch-Ups

    If you want to have a healthy lawn come Spring, it’s important that you take care of your property now. Winter is the perfect time for preparing and taking steps towards getting a beautiful yard this season. Whether you live in Florida or Minnesota, there are some basic steps we recommend every homeowner should follow during these colder months. Don’t forget to clean out leaves from gutters, remove any debris on top of the ground like sticks and pine needles, and turn off automatic sprinklers if they haven't been used all year long. These simple tasks will set your home up for success when warmer weather arrives! What other tips do you offer homeowners? How have these insights helped improve the health of your own lawn? Let us know! 



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