In Los Angeles, gardeners are incredibly lucky that mild winters allow them to plant a wide variety of flowers, trees, grasses and shrubs throughout the year. In some ways, this makes it much easier to take care of a lawn. However, there are several winter lawn care tips that you should master in order to keep your lawn in Los Angeles looking healthy and verdant throughout the year.
1. Build up your soil
Take advantage of the slightly cooler winter temperatures to enhance and modify your soil structure. Ideally, your soil should be a loam, allowing you to grow any kind of grass with outstanding success. If you have another type of soil, no need to fret–you can easily alter your soil structure yourself.
You should also test your pH by purchasing a home test kit or bringing a sample to the local cooperative extension. You can alter your soil’s pH by adding ingredients like compost or fertilizer. Winter is the best time to fertilize any cool season grass, like Bermuda, as hotter weather can cause the soil to lose most of the nutrients you have added.
2. Continue mowing, but set your blade higher
Regular mowing is still a must during the cooler winter months. While you should mow every week in the summer, you can get away with once or twice a month during the winter. Try not to mow when the lawn is met, and set your blade a little higher to keep grass healthier.
3. Alter your irrigation pattern
You’re likely to receive more natural rainfall during the winter than in the summer, so try not to over-irrigate your lawn during the winter. Adjust any automatic sprinklers, and be sure to water early in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, to prevent fungal growth.
4. Aerate your lawn
This is especially true if you have clay soil, but make sure you aerate your lawn during the winter. This is a great time to do it, as the soil won’t become overly dry, but mandatory because soils that are overly compressed can become hard and not allow roots to breathe.
5. Protect against overwintering pests
Many pests overwinter in this region of California. Now is the time to take action against them so that they don’t’ become a larger problem once the weather warms. Soil that is too wet or grass mowed too low can both invite an infestation, so apply an insecticide if you discover that you have a problem (often indicated by dead or dying patches on your lawn).
When caring for your lawn during the winter, keep in mind that there are alternatives to lawn that might make winter care easier. Consider building raised flower beds or rock gardens during this time of the year, when the weather is less stifling, to help reduce your winter workload as well as your summer water usage. Now is also the time to plant any new grasses or ornamental plants to make your lawn easier to care for throughout the year.
Overall, a few preventative and maintenance steps taken during the idle winter months can add up to big-time lawn care success come April.
Need additional help transitioning your lawn care into the next season? Visit our Los Angeles lawn care page for more information!