This time last year (in Calgary at least), we received more than 20 centimetres of snow. Luckily, we haven’t seen that kind of snow...yet.
As temperatures continue to drop, now is a perfect time to get started on your fall lawn care. We spoke with Kath Smyth with the Calgary Horticultural Society for some expert tips on how to prep your lawn for winter so it comes back strong in the spring.
Keep It Clean...Sort Of
We haven’t had a lot of rain across Alberta lately, so your lawn has probably stopped growing. And that’s ok. According to Smyth, keeping your lawn short—about 3 to 5 centimetres—is the best strategy as we head into winter. If your grass is longer than that, you could mow it once more to keep it at the ideal length.
Smyth also recommends that you don’t rake everything up.
“You should rake the leaves up as much as possible to prevent the possibility of disease and snow mould, but don’t rake up all of the dead grass. Let your lawn die back naturally to protect the root structure over the winter.”
Go Low With Fertilizer
If you are going to fertilize your lawn now, be careful of the nitrogen content in the fertilizer you choose. While there are fall fertilizers available, they usually contain a lot of nitrogen, which you don’t want right now.
“Nitrogen promotes growth, and we don’t want that right now,” says Smyth. “Look at the first number on the fertilizer packaging and keep it low.”
Stay Off The Grass If It Snows
We know. There are things you’d rather be doing than cleaning up the yard. That new series on Netflix won’t watch itself. But, now you’ve waited too long and the snow has come. While it may be gone tomorrow, the chance to get a lot of work done on the lawn is also gone.
After the first snowfall, it’s pretty much too late to do anything on your lawn, explains Smyth. Once we get the first heavy frost or the first snowfall, it’s best to stay off the lawn all together. If you don’t, you’ll have to aerate your lawn first thing in the spring to loosen the compacted soil caused by heavy traffic on the grass.
So, even if the snow is gone by tomorrow, try and stay off the grass.
Get The Work Done To Enjoy A Healthy Lawn In The Spring
So, what are you waiting for? Grab the family or some friends (maybe not your best friends) and get outside before the weather turns totally south.
Use Halloween garbage bags to clean up the leaves to prevent disease, and decorate your yard for the holiday. Your lawn will thank you in the spring.
We’d love to know your tips for prepping your yard for winter. Let us know in the comments below.
If you would like more gardening tips, visit the Resources page on the Calgary Horticultural Society’s website. Thank you Kath Smyth for sharing with us!