How Cincinnati homeowners should prepare their lawn for winter

A house with a lawn in Cincinnati

In terms of lawn care, most people look forward to having their best lawn during spring and summer seasons. However, fall, right up until the grass lies dormant, is crucial for successful peak seasons. Many confuse spring, the season of growth, as the season to also revive your lawn. With the right lawn care all year, springtime will only be a beautiful representation of the fruits of your fall efforts. Follow these five expert tips for winter lawn prep so your lawn will be healthy all year long.

1. Raking Season

Most people know the importance of raking the lawn, but maybe some are unaware of the benefits aside from a nice looking yard. Without raking, the tips listed below are near impossible. Preparing and maintaining a lawn through to next spring requires a clean lawn. Unwanted leaves will add to the compaction of the soil and can be detrimental to the grass. The excess leaves are also prime real estate for a home to little critters.

2. Aeration

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After the long summer, your lawn will much appreciate the fresh air that aeration will provide it. The traffic the lawn endures and the multitude of lawn mows during the summer compacts the soil making it unable to soak in the water and nutrients it needs to thrive. Aeration is simply poking holes into the ground to alleviate the compaction and to make room for seeds and fertilizer to penetrate the roots. It is important to do this before the first freeze.

3. Overseed to Maximize Density

Over-seeding acts as a thickening agent for a lawn. Following the summers, a lawn can be exhausted with the amount of use. Over-seeding can help replenish bare spots and further revitalize the lawn with a full body. Making sure a lawn is at its maximum density will see too fewer weeds and opt for a more organic lawn. Before you over-seed your lawn, it is important to prep the lawn by mowing at the lowest setting and rake the excess debris to start with a clean slate. Depending on the size of the area that needs attention, you can spread the seed with your hand for smaller areas and use an industrial seed spreader for larger areas.

Related: The 6 best types of grass to plant in your Cincinnati lawn

4. Fertilize the lawn: Ever wonder why there are so many Spring babies?

Late September into early October is the best time to fertilize your lawn: more effective than springtime. Two rounds of fertilization are recommended in the fall to avoid any hassle in the spring. Cincinnati is just on the border between the transitional temperature zone and cool season zone. This means that winters are more of a threat here than they are in warmer zones, so fertilization is even more important to ensure the strength of the lawn through winter.

Experts say the first step to fertilizing a lawn is to get the soil tested to see what nutrients are lacking. Home test kits are available at neighborhood ‘Home and Garden’ stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. If you are looking for a more accurate test, Lowe’s recommends sending a sample to a local Cooperative Extension office for testing. After this test, you will be better equipped to get a fertilizer that is specific to your soil. Bags of fertilizer will have Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium ratios, experts call the “N-P-K” levels. Depending on which of these nutrients your yard lacks, you can make an educated decision on what fertilizer would be best equipped for your lawn.

5. H2O

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Water is important for existence in general so it only makes sense that it is crucial for grass as well. Before the grass goes into dormancy for the winter, keep your irrigation systems on or your hose handy. Experts recommend watering the lawn up until the first freeze of the winter. Water will give the grass’s roots strength to outlast the winter, and without water, you might be starting from scratch in the spring. It will also support the growth of over-seeding and help with fermentation.

Maintaining a lawn throughout the year is much easier than a full redemption each spring. Keep these helpful tips in mind when you’re thinking about the annual suburbia “Best Lawn” competition. These methods will be sure to win you that sign.

Have more questions about lawn care? Visit our Cincinnati lawn care services page for more information.

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Brooke Anguiano