Do you really need to mow the lawn in the winter? Let’s talk about some cold weather lawn care and what’s really important this time of year.
Grass doesn’t necessarily stop growing in the winter but it does grow a lot more slowly. When temperatures drop below 40° you probably won’t notice a huge boost in how fast your lawn is growing, but that’s not necessarily news. Mow your lawn between November and March isn’t necessarily something you have to keep up on.
The only time grass can grow normally is if a patch of grass were to receive several hours of reflective heat from sunlight each day from either a nearby building, aluminum, or some metal compound. This would give it the heat it needs to really boost the growth, but since that’s pretty unusual around here, chances are your grass is not going to grow that fast.
So what should you be doing to care for your lawn during the winter months?
Now is the time to think about a lush spring lawn by putting in a little bit of work now and letting your grass do its thing.
For starters, never mow wet grass if you can help it. Obviously, in the Pacific Northwest, we do what we can and we don’t always have dry weather to mow the lawn, especially if we get bouts of sunshine and then a downpour. Try to refrain from mowing the lawn after it is rained heavily. A lawnmower and its blades can damage routes and actually cause the blades to cut the grass on evenly. Mower blades can gouge wet lawns and this naturally will put a lot more wear and tear on your lawnmower.
When you make the last lawn mowing job of the year, leave about two-thirds of grass blades instead of half of the blade, which is a normal summer cut.
The area of a blade just visible above the ground is more vulnerable to the stress of cold weather than the roots themselves. Make sure you leave enough grass blade protection overhead. The slow winter growth that occurs when temperatures drop below 40° can add to blade length and provide additional protection against snow and cold weather.
What about a warm snap that causes the lawn to sprout?
Warm temperatures, especially around the Pacific Northwest this time of year don’t last long. Any extra growth that the grass produces can protect the roots and lower grass areas. Even just a 2° difference in temperature can double grass blades’ growth rate by stimulating metabolic processes in the grass.
Try to avoid walking on frozen grass as it can break the blades and cause damage to the grass overall.
Related: 7 Tips to Beautify Your Winter Landscape
Is snow mold a thing?
While we don’t get below 0° temperatures around here some lawns can be susceptible to snow mold. This is a fungus that develops underneath snow patches and causes your grass to die when the snow melts in warmer temperatures. You’ll notice snow mold by its pinkish-gray color and circular shape that usually remains under about 12 inches in diameter. Again, this is kind of a rarity around here but it’s something to consider.
A way to prevent snow mold is to avoid applying fall fertilizer too late in the year. Remove any fallen leaves and debris before it snows and make sure that the grass receives the right amount of nitrogen fertilizer after the final mowing.
Chances are, you don’t have to mow the lawn in the winter. Your lawn will do just fine on its own. Try to avoid walking on snowy grass even though building that snowman is awfully tempting.
For more tips on winter landscape and how to maintain your yard, lawn, or garden ready for spring, contact First Fruits Landscaping at any time. Call First Fruits Landscaping for all of your Pacific Northwest landscaping, gardening, and yard maintenance needs. Would love to help you design and prepare your garden or landscape for the entire year.