Though many homeowners tend to ignore their yards in the winter, your lawn does require some preparation before the winter chills. While you can cut back on your mowing and watering once the seasons change, there are a few steps you’ll want to take as your lawn goes dormant for the winter.
Get Rid of Those Leaves
As we move into December, your yard’s trees are probably getting ready to shed their last leaves. No one enjoys raking and removing leaves, but it’s an important part of preparing a healthy lawn for winter. Your grass might look dead, but it still needs nutrients as it lays dormant until spring. Leaves left on the ground can smother your lawn, keeping out even the minimal soil nutrients it will need to survive the cold and bounce back in the spring.
Move Potted Plants Inside
Small potted plants and herbs should be moved indoors to the garage or a gardening shed to help protect against freezing. Your lawn can survive the ground freezing, but frigid temperatures will mean a chilly death for smaller plants. Move potted plants to areas that will stay relatively warm and provide indirect light. Kitchen windows make a great home for potted herbs, providing warmth, sunlight and easy access for winter meals.
Drain Your Sprinklers
After your final watering, make sure to drain your sprinklers before the ground freezes. Sprinkler pipes, which are buried shallowly, will often freeze along with your ground and burst. These broken pipes can be a huge pain to fix when the ground thaws, so make sure to drain them before the first hard freeze. If the weather is mild and your lawn needs watering, just use your garden hose.
Be Careful of Pests
Since most people tend to ignore their lawns during winter, pests and insects can often gain a foothold during this season. Early detection of insects is vital to any management program. Researchers at the University of Florida recommend you check the lawn for pest activity every 14 days in the winter. You can get a look at some of the prime pests for North Central Florida lawns here.
Having your local pest control company add horticultural oils to your lawn during regular service can help keep harmful bugs at bay. The oils are safe for kids and pets, but will help keep insects from coming back with your lawn in the spring.