We're officially in the full swing of winter. Morning temperatures are low, frosts are common, and some areas of Georgia are preparing for snowy weather. At this time of year, your grass is likely dormant, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't need care. In fact, getting ahead of lawn care during the winter months is a great way to make sure your lawn is healthy and green come springtime.
By this time, it's likely that the time has come to pack up the mower and keep it inside until the weather begins to warm. You may not be mowing for a month or two, but this provides the perfect opportunity to optimize your mower's performance to prepare for spring. Sharpen blades and ensure everything is running smoothly to ensure that your mower is cutting the grass, rather than simply tearing it.
Whether you are using your leaves for mulching, or simply removing them from your lawn, it's more important than ever to ensure that leaves don't block your grass's access to sunlight and the warmth and water evaporation it provides. If your lawn still has a lot of fallen leaves, carefully rake them away to keep that dormant grass thriving.
If your home is directly off of a major road, or if you plan to treat your driveway with salt to make it easier to pull out after a snow, there are ways to prevent further damage to your lawn from the dehydrating salts. Firstly, it's important to apply salts sparingly, as any exposure to extra salt will sap the moisture from your grass. Secondly, while sodium chloride, labeled as rock salt in stores, is the most common type of salt used to treat road, calcium chloride is a much more environmentally friendly salt, which actually works in lower temperatures than rock salt.
Additionally, whenever possible, shoveling is the best method for removing snow from a driveway without damaging the grass. Pair a snow shovel with an ice chipper to remove the layer of ice that can settle beneath snow, and you can create a safe driveway without the need of potentially harmful chemicals.
Heavy snow and strong winds can wreak havoc on tree limbs during this time of year, leaving a mess of debris on your lawn during the winter. Fallen branches can not only block grass from accessing sunlight, but can also lead to physical damage to grass leaves and fungal growth in areas where water is not able to evaporate. Be sure to keep your lawn as debris free as possible through the course of the winter to avoid brown spots come springtime.
While watering frequently is often not necessary during the winter, winter droughts can cause frozen grasses to rapidly lose moisture. When the ground is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it is possible to water your lawn during these times. Be careful not to over-water your lawn, as it will still be harder for the water to be absorbed or evaporated before harmful fungi begin to proliferate.