5 Simple Winter Lawn Care Tips

Snow Covered LawnNow that you’re out of your weekly lawn mowing chores it’s time to get your lawn ready for the long, cold winter months. Taking the time to prepare your lawn for December, January, and February can give your lawn the jump start it needs in the spring.

Winter Lawn Mowing

The last few times you mow your grass, most likely in November, lower your lawn mower an inch below your normal setting. I always recommend lowering in half an inch increments, but sometimes your grass just stop growing. In either case, make absolutely certain you bag your lawn clippings to ensure you pick up any weed seeds, so come spring your lawn doesn’t look like a mine field. Bagging your lawn clippings will also reduce the thatch and provide much better air circulation for your lawn.

Lawn Fertilizer

Applying winterizing fertilizers just before your grass goes dormant will provide a boost of potassium to your lawn. This nutrient will make your lawn more winter hardy. If your lawn has been tormented with mushrooms or moss a light application of dolomite or agriculture lime will help adjust the ph of the soil and get those fungicides under control. Come the spring if you see them taking root again, apply another thin coat of dolomite to nip them in the bud.


After a long summer of lawn activity your soil can become compacted leading to a barrage of issues. A quick tip to determine if you need to aerate is to try to insert a wooden match stick into your soil. If it won’t go in without force, its time to call in the professionals. Not really, but it’s not a bad idea if it’s to cold. Head down to your local hardware or home improvement store and rent the right equipment. Forget those silly spikey shoes, they don’t work. You want to rent an aerator the pulls the plugs to the surface to do the job right. Watering your lawn a couple of days before hand will ensure your lawn is moist and easy to work with.

Overseed with Rye Grass

If you find your dormant lawn unpleasant to look at there is an option. Overseeding your lawn with rye grass can keep your lawn looking green most of the winter months. Overseeding works great on all warm season grasses, but Bermuda grass tolerates overseeding better than Centipede, Zoysia, and St. Augustine. You’ll want to overseed your lawn about 2 weeks before the first frost. You do have one choice to make and that is between Annual or Perennial rye grass. Annual rye grass germinates much faster than perennial, but perennial is much more tolerant of the cold, disease, and drought.

Weed Control

Believe it or not but leaves are the #1 cause of weeds in lawns during the winter months. Leafs block the sun light and air from reaching your grass which encourages disease. Rake the leaves, or pay a lawn service to get the mountains of leaves out of your backyard, your grass will thank you. A quick application of a pre-emergent week killer will keep the weeds from taking root during the fall and winter months. You may want to also consider a weed and feed product, which includes a winter fertilizer. Getting control of the winter weeds that can take root is our #1 winter lawn care tip. If you don’t heed any other bit of advice from this article, pick up the leaves and apply a generous helping of weed and feed!


  1. should you cut your grass shorter in the winter in the sacramento valley (northern)

  2. vivian kempson says:

    what to do abt poa anna?

  3. How about care of grasses ( and I do mean multiple grasses) all growing together but looking nice and green? I live an So. Ca. How do you treat and mow when there is no “real” winter. I have had success weeding with Spectacide for lawn weeds and Preen in combination but when do you start this process and then how do you take care of the wintering where it doesn’t snow but gets to mid-upper 30s at night?

  4. Gail Richards says:

    How long after you use spectracide weed stop can you lay down seed?

  5. I just put down fresh bermuda grass and some of it is not totally green,is it alright to give it a boost with some miracle grow in powder form through a hose water spreader?

  6. Danny gillis says:

    Should I mulch my leaves and the put down winterguard fertilizer?

  7. Yolanda Bradley says:

    I sprinkle salt on my drive way and sometimes the salt gets on my lawwn. In the spring time i notice that the grass has stopped grown near the edge of the drive way. What do you I suggest I do to stop this from happening.

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