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Cleaning and Preparing Your Yard for Winter

You can’t ignore your lawn in the fall, even if it is growing slower and you’re distracted by gorgeous Minnesotan autumn foliage. Grass is actually busy under the surface during these last few months before winter dormancy - it’s absorbing the energy and nutrients it needs to grow back green and lush in the springtime. Now is the perfect time to take a few extra steps to ensure your lawn is the envy of the neighborhood.

Aerate Your Lawn

After a long summer of yard games and backyard barbecues, your lawn is hardened and compacted. Aeration is critical to the health of your grass, and fall is the perfect time, as you won’t kick up the seeds of noxious weeds. Look for a plug aerator, not a spike aerator, as it will actually remove the plug of soil instead of just punching a hole and potentially further compacting the soil. It's also important to watch out for in-ground sprinkler heads, as aeration equipment can do major damage. If you are concerned about the process, hire a professional to tackle this step for you.

Once you’ve aerated, consider adding a layer of compost and even applying a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. If you’re unsure of your lawn’s specific wintering needs, consider taking advantage of our free Lawn Analysis service.

Prepare Your Trees For Winter

Nothing elevates your landscaping more than your trees. They’re practically members of your family! It’s critical to take care of them so they remain healthy for generations. 

Preparation for winter can involve:

  • Stem Protection: To avoid trunk damage from animals, consider wrapping hardware cloth around the trunk. There should be at least one inch of space between the tree bark and the hardware cloth. 

  • Snow Protection: Heavy snow can break or injure delicate trees like junipers or birch. Consider wrapping trees or binding them to help protect them from snow and ice damage. 

  • Root Protection: Roots don’t go dormant as quickly as the rest of the tree, and can be injured or killed by frost. Mulch your trees with wood chips or straw to help insulate the roots and raise the ground temperature. 

Other winter preparation needs vary by the tree, location, and the yard. You can learn more about how to protect your trees for winter at the U of M’s Yard and Garden blog, or request a free quick quote from our experts.

Winterize Your Sprinkler System

If water freezes in your irrigation system, it will break your sprinklers. That’s why it’s necessary to prepare your sprinkler system for winter. It’s a delicate operation, but it’s necessary for the longevity of your sprinklers and lawn.

Both air volume and air pressure are critical to the process. If you don’t use enough air, some water will remain in low spots of the system and could still freeze. If you don’t use the right pressure, you could blow the sprinkler nozzles off or cause other damage to your system - and the right pressure varies with the type of pipe your sprinkler system uses. As such a delicate process that can potentially ruin your sprinkler system, this may be another step best left to the professionals. 

Other Winter Lawn Preparation Tips

Fall is the best time for a number of other lawn maintenance to-dos, including filling in the bald spots in your lawn, applying herbicide to control weeds, and raking regularly so you don’t suffocate the lawn. 

Fall is an important time for your lawn. Ehlinger will evaluate your fall lawn care needs with a free Lawn Care Analysis. In lawn care, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’ll ensure that when spring comes, you’re ready to grill, play, and lounge on a beautiful lawn.

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