Winter-Ready Your Yard with Five Easy Tips

Before retreating inside for the winter. Give your yard some year ending TLC to ensure your lawn will spring to life beautifully next year.

The signs of approaching winter everywhere – trees are quickly shedding all their leaves, the grass is going dormant, and we’ve had the first snow. Before we retreat inside for the winter, give your yard some attention to help ensure your lawn will come to life beautifully in the spring.

Ryan Lawn & Tree experts Ryan Westhoff and Drew Wilson, both turf department professionals, offer five tips for yard winterization:

Clean up all leaves, and clean up the yard.

Ryan Westhoff says maintaining leaf litter and getting all the leaves up is one of the biggest steps you can take to help your yard thrive during the winter. Leaves that stay on the ground throughout the winter will cause harm to the turf as they become matted down and smother out the grass.

Also, now is also the time to simply clean up your outside yard from various items that might still be out there from the warmer months.

Prune trees.

“Now is a great time to do structure pruning, where you can selectively prune a tree to help it grow in a healthier, stronger, more sustainable manner,” Drew says.

Drew said it’s the optimal time for such pruning because it’s easier to see dead limbs in a tree canopy after the leaves have fallen. Drew also said late fall can be a good time to plant trees as they will have the longest time possible in the soil before experiencing stressful summer heat.

Mow, mulch and fertilize.

Typically, cutting the lawn shorter before the winter is a good idea. Drew says a rule of thumb for fescue grass is to keep it at 2 ½ to 3 inches during the fall, winter and spring months. It’s best to keep Bermuda grasses taller and thicker to allow for more insulation.

Now is also the time to put down nitrogen-based fertilizers. Ryan says this helps feed the lawn’s root system and acts as a large food reserve. This encourages a deeper, darker green come spring. Overall, Drew says they often refer to this fertilizing as the “heaviest feeding of the year” for a lawn.

Using a liquid root fertilizer for trees and shrubs can help stimulate growth during winter months as well. Additionally, trees and shrubs could benefit from additional mulch for winter insulation.

Prevent a winter pest invasion.

Rodents activity is typically high this time of year as they are looking for places to keep warm. Ryan Lawn & Tree offers a rodent guard program that involves installing bate stations around the home. These stations are in enclosed boxes that are safe from pets and children.

Treating for spiders with an exterior spray may be beneficial as they often try to find a way inside as it gets colder.

Winterize sprinkler systems.

If you have a sprinkler system, be sure to blow out all the water from it as any remaining water could freeze and damage the system. Winter watering is extremely important (and will be covered in our next blog post), but it’s not done with the help of the sprinkler system.

While you might not spend much time in your yard over the next several months, it’s still important to help it stay healthy throughout the winter. A few efforts can go a long way.