As winter approaches, many Central Texas homeowners reach out to us inquiring about frost and freeze damage and how they can avoid it. Fortunately, with the proper precautions, you can protect your yard, landscaping, and grass from frost and freeze damage. In this blog, we’ll provide some essential tips on how to do just that—by covering topics as diverse as proper irrigation and fertilization to when to water your yard. Follow these tips to ensure your yard holds up throughout the cold winter months and continues to thrive when warmer weather returns.
How to Prepare Your Lawn for Winter
It should come as no surprise that the first step to preventing damage from frost and freezing temperatures is to prepare your lawn for winter. That means starting early—winterizing your yard before the outdoor temperatures drop. Here are some tips to help you prepare your lawn for winter:
Fertilize in Early & Mid-Fall
A winterizing fertilizer blend high in potassium can help protect your lawn as the temperatures drop. For best results, perform a soil test to determine your soil’s needs. Then, select a fertilizer based on the results of the test.
Aerate & Topdress
Aerating your lawn helps to loosen compacted soil, improve drainage, and increase your lawn’s ability to absorb nutrients. After aerating, you can topdress your lawn with a thin layer of compost or topsoil to help prevent the soil from losing too much moisture over the winter.
Fallen leaves and branches can damage your lawn if they’re left to accumulate over the winter. Make sure you remove any debris from your lawn to prevent this from happening.
Mow Until the Grass Stops Growing
Ensure your lawn is healthy for the winter by continuing to mow it until the grass stops growing.
This will help to prevent winter lawn disease (aka moldy fungus) from taking hold. Plan to mow your lawn two or three times before your first frost, slowly reducing the blade’s height each time.
Cover Your Plants with Mulch
To protect your young plants from the harsh winter weather, cover them with a layer of mulch. This will help keep them hydrated and will prevent them from being damaged by freezing temperatures.
Keep Your Lawn Hydrated
Even though your lawn won’t be growing much in the winter, it still needs to be well-hydrated. Make sure you’re watering your lawn every few weeks to prevent it from drying out, as well as following our tips for watering your yard below.
Remember: Taking the time to winterize your lawn now will save you time and money in the long run. Winterizing your lawn helps to keep your grass hydrated and improves the soil structure of your yard, which can help keep it protected throughout the winter season.
Tips for Watering Your Yard
As winter approaches, it’s important to take extra care of your lawn to ensure it’s well-hydrated, but not too much. This is because hydrating your lawn in winter isn’t just essential to ensure it survives the cold temperatures but is the key to keeping it healthy throughout all of winter and lush come spring. Follow these tips to ensure you’re giving your lawn the hydration it needs during the winter season.
Check Your Local Forecast
While Central Texas typically doesn’t experience below-freezing temperatures consistently enough to justify shutting off our irrigation systems for the entire winter, you should make sure to give it enough water to keep the soil moist and insulated. That’s why homeowners need to stay vigilant about monitoring ambient temperatures and natural precipitation to make the proper adjustments to their watering schedule.
Water Appropriately For the Weather
Did you know that water acts as an insulator, protecting the grass from freezing temperatures? That’s right! Dehydrated grass—not hydrated grass—is more susceptible to frost & freeze damage, which is another reason to keep an eye on the forecast and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
You can ensure you are watering appropriately—in accordance with the weather—by following these tips:
- In the absence of adequate rainfall, water your lawn when outside temps are 40 degrees and above. If and when the outside temperatures drop below 30 degrees overnight, water your lawn as early in the day as possible so the grass can absorb as much moisture as possible before overnight temps arrive.
- If you’re expecting a week of heavy rain, reduce the amount of water you give your lawn.
- Finally, if you’re expecting a freeze, try to water your yard 24 hours beforehand to protect your roots and other plant parts from freezing.
Water Ahead, But Not After
One important caveat to watering your yard in winter is that while you should water ahead of a freeze, you should never water when the ground is frozen. Use a soil temp map as a reference to determine when it’s safe to water, keeping in mind that dry soil is colder than moist soil.
One Last Tip: Avoid Foot Traffic
Something that many homeowners overlook when it comes to protecting their grass throughout winter is the importance of avoiding foot traffic as much as possible during the winter months. Because the leaves are more brittle when frozen—making them more susceptible to damage—you should never walk across your lawn when it is covered in frost or ice. Similarly, limit your pet’s activity as best possible and only allow them out on the lawn when temperatures are warmer.
Want even more tips on how to protect your yard for winter? Check out our blog, Winter Lawn Care Tips for more.
Elevate Your Yard With The Grass Outlet
Winter is a tough time for lawns, but by following these tips, you’ll be able to protect your lawn from the harsh winter weather so it’s ready to flourish come spring.
If you have any questions or want additional tips on how to best care for your lawn, please contact us to get the answers you need. The Grass Outlet is a three-generation, family-owned sod farm in Texas that prides itself on being a one-stop shop for all your lawn care needs. Contact us today or check out our blog to get all your lawn-care questions answered.
Need new grass?
Did you know that warm-season grasses tend to go dormant in winter? That’s right, and it’s why some types of sod, including ours, can be safely installed throughout the winter season. As long as you care for your lawn by following the aforementioned tips, your new grass should emerge as good as new come spring green-up.
If you want to install our warm-season grass this winter and have it ready to enjoy by spring, order online today to schedule your delivery!