Here in North Florida, it seems like we’re always preparing for something. From hurricane prep to getting ready for the upcoming winter season, professional lawn care in Gainesville, Florida can sometimes be a challenge for the busy homeowner. The winter months in our region sometimes require advance planning to maximize your lawn’s health and to maintain its luxurious splendor all year long. As we get closer to the holidays, now is the time to start making those plans. To help you out, we put together this handy list of the 4 best tips on getting your lawn ready for winter.
1. Perform a soil test on your lawn
First things first, it’s extremely important to perform a soil test on your yard. This checks for things such as proper pH balance and the levels of other important nutrients.
What is soil exactly?
Most of us probably don’t think about it, but soil is actually made up of a variety of minerals and other organic materials. We’d go as far as to say that 99% of homeowners just think of it as “dirt”. The reality is so much deeper. Organic materials in your soil include everything from living creatures (worms, insects, and bacteria) to decomposed leaves and grass blades, and more.
What specifically does a soil test check for?
In addition to identifying missing nutrients, a soil test will verify the proper pH balance in the soil. If your yard is too acidic or too alkaline, plants such as flowers, shrubs, and of course the grass in your lawn can’t grow properly. Plantlife prefers a neutral pH balance. If it’s too far in either direction your lawn won’t be as healthy as it could be.
How to test your soil
You can purchase a basic soil test kit at most hardware stores. To perform the test, clean a small spot in your yard, eliminating any thatch that is present. Dig down 6 to 8 inches, and collect samples from this depth. Spread the soil out to dry, and then check it with the test to confirm whether your soil is in pH balance or missing any nutrients.
2. The importance of aeration
Aerating your grass helps promote both a lush look and a healthier color. Aeration is nothing more than using a tool such as a core aerator or a steel spike aerator to break down the thatch. Thatch is the thick layer of organic material that builds up on top of the soil.
As with most of our tips today, the best time to aerate your lawn is in the early fall. Of course, aeration can also be performed more frequently, depending on how thick the thatch has become. Nevertheless, if you’re preparing your yard for winter, be sure to aerate before the middle of October.
3. Leaf control
Leaf control is another important task to perform while getting your lawn ready for winter. Raking up leaves helps give your grass maximum sunlight exposure. You want to get rid of the leaves before the first Florida frost. It’s also easier to rake up the leaves when they are dry so don’t wait for a rainy day.
Some homeowners let all the leaves fall before raking them up and some rake as they go. We recommend raking or blowing off leaves every couple of weeks to minimize the time effort and make sure the grass doesn’t get smothered. Leaves hold in moisture which is a breeding ground for bacteria. Bacteria can cause your grass to grow fungus and rot. This will stress out your grass, if not kill it, and make it much harder to recover in the spring.
4. Mowing height matters
Another way to prevent bacteria and moisture from rotting your lawn is to keep it long. Short grass is stressed grass and stressed grass is weak. As we’ve mentioned before, a taller blade of grass can deal with droughts and potential diseases way easier. Of course, you’ll need to mow more often, but this helps maintain the health of your yard. So does a beneficial amount of bacteria which can more easily break down the clippings when the grass is taller.
With winter coming, these mowing tips can help give you a more natural green lawn, negating the need for artificial turf coloration.
Other Florida Lawn Preparation thoughts
North Florida lawn care is, of course, different than other parts of the country. Our winters are much milder than they are elsewhere, and more often than not we mow all year long. Still, that doesn’t mean that you should treat the yard in January or February the same as you do in June.
The shorter days and lower sun will still have an impact on your yard. Both reducing its growth and changing its color. If you want that lush green color all year long, and your grass is suffering from summertime stresses still, you could consider selectively applying a turf colorant. This isn’t any normal paint, mind you, but rather a specific mixture that can be applied to your grass without affecting its health.
Of course, if you properly prepare your lawn by following all of the tips we’ve mentioned today, you’ll be far less likely to be tempted by artificial color as your lawn will already be relatively healthy.
Getting the lawn ready for winter is a breeze with Sun Power Lawn Care
While we’ve given four tips and a handful of additional thoughts today, the simple reality is the best way to properly get your lawn ready for winter is by partnering with the North Florida lawn care experts: Sun Power Lawn Care! Our team will make certain that your lawn is both well maintained and prepared for winter. They can perform soil tests on your yard, helping to nurse it back to health. They also understand the importance of and best ways to aerate your lawn, how to overseed to maximize growth, and will never cut your grass too short.
If you’d like to book a consultation with one of our team members, CONTACT US to schedule your appointment.
Here are some great resources to help your lawn look its best: