Winter season is fast approaching, and every wise lawn owner knows that they have to adapt their lawn methods and applications to suit the changing temperature.
Now, as regards mowing, we all accept that is one important part of the lawn maintenance process, something that should take place through several seasons. But the dilemma on how to mow rightly usually arises during winter.
During the winter season, questions like “should I keep mowing during winter?”, “How high should I mow?” “How often should I mow,” etc. are usually prevalent. In this piece, I’ll be shedding light on the issue of lawn mowing during cold weather.
Should I Mow During Winter?
If you can avoid grass cutting during the winter months, then please do so. Usually, it’s always best to trim your turf just before the winter season approaches.
That would mean that your last and final grass cutting should be during the fall season. You can call it a pre-winter cut if you will. Going by this pattern will help prevent moldy fungi from developing on your lawn.
I’ll tell you why you should stop right before winter. When there is a cold-weather or when winter comes, turf grasses normally go into dormancy. This is usually the case when you’re planting warm-season grasses.
Grasses always sprout as far as the weather is warm enough. Nonetheless, they stop growing with much vigor when the temperature begins to drop below 50 degrees.
Usually, this drop in temperature occurs around late October to early February. The point is if your turf isn’t growing, then there’s usually no reason to keep mowing.
Should You Mow Higher Or Lower During Winter?
Turf-grasses store food for the winter as the temperature drops in the fall. Cutting the grasses too short puts the grasses in shock, makes it difficult for them to absorb sunlight, and can lead to crown damage, which invariably means that their food supply becomes affected.
On the other hand, if you mow too high, you make your lawn susceptible to snow mold fungus. Generally, it’s advisable to gradually lower the grass height the last two to three times you mow. This will help to ensure that you don’t remove more than 1/3 of its height at once.
Cutting the grass too low during the winter season will sure lead to starvation over the winter. Something they may not easily recover from even after spring comes.
Mowing about 2″ to 2½” high will help maintain better lawn health. “How?” You ask. Well, at 2″ high, your turf is not high enough to be affected by snow fungus, it’s also not low enough to be subjected to the stress of the cold weather.
Things To Note While Mowing during The Winter Months
There are a few things you should take note of when lawn mowing. This is even more important during the approaching winter season. If grass cutting is not done wisely, you could end up harming your lawn, and that’s something we wouldn’t want.
#1. Mowing Height
This always matters. Don’t mow to high, neither should you mow too low. Keep it at 2″ and or most 2½”. It isn’t just for appearance’s sake. Mowing height could also affect lawn health. Low grass cutting can result in drought stress and weed infestation.
#2. Mind The Blades
Lawn mowing is already a stressful activity for the turf, and you don’t want to double that by using blunt blades to do the job. As much as possible, sharpen your blades. What you want is to clip the grass blades short and not to hurt your turf.
3. Use a Mulching Mower If You Can
Your lawn will definitely have lots of fallen leaves after the fall season. This can be used to your advantage
A mulching mower grinds up the leaves and recycles them back to the lawn. This is great because it saves you the stress of having to rake the lawn clean, but more importantly, it helps to enrich the lawn.
How To Prepare Your Lawn For The Winter Season
Usually, fall is the best time to go into action when preparing for winter. And this is a very important thing to do because, after summer’s stress, you’ll want your lawn rejuvenated before spring since spring is the time your turf leaves dormancy and begins to pick up vigorously.
If you want a quick green-up after winter, then make sure you do the following:
#1. Fertilize Your Turf
This part cannot be overemphasized. Summer can contribute its fair share of damaging effect on your lawn. It brings with it drought, heatwave, weed infestation, insect pests, and diseases.
Good lawn owners like you know that fertilizing their lawns will not just help to enrich the soil, it will also help to heal damaged lawns. Usually, you should apply the first application during early fall. This should fall within mid-august and mid-September.
Doing this will help restore the soil and help the turf recover with ease. NPK fertilizers will help to stimulate turf repair and growth. It should also help to harden the turf for the forthcoming winter season. About 0.5kg worth of nitrogen fertilizer can be applied to every 100m square.
#2. Control Thatch Buildup
Thatch buildup can occur for several reasons. Over-fertilizing your lawn could do this, overly watering the lawn can also lead to a thatch problem.
Excess thatch buildup can house disease-causing organisms, thereby posing a risk to your turf. An example is the snow mold. Also, it becomes harder for turf roots to get past the thatch and dig into the soil to obtain necessary plant nutrients. You can deal with thatch problems by dethatching or core aerating.
#3. Overseed Empty Spots
As we have already established, summer can be taxing on your lawn, before it goes into winter dormancy, you want to make sure that you’ve filled up those bare spots.
At times, fertilizing alone might not do the job, especially if the lawn is badly damaged, in which case you might need to overseed. For problem areas, it’s advisable to spread your turf seeds in two directions uniformly. Be vigilant to ensure that it lands on the soil and not blown away by the wind.
As a way of ending, the rule of thumb is never to go extreme when carrying out any lawn maintenance routine, and this includes mowing. Mowing too low or too high whether, during winter, fall or spring is inviting trouble.
Grass cutting should be maintained at about 2″ and at most 2½” when temperature drops. That way, you get to play safe and avoid future lawn complications.