Monday, October 22, 2007

Winterize Your Lawn NOW!!

In the Chicago area, we winterize everything.
The television and radio are inundated with advertisements urging people to get their vehicles ready for winter. In addition, this past weekend, I winterized my pool for the long, cold months to follow.
People are sealing their driveways, plastic shrink-wrapping their boats, and servicing their furnaces. It’s time for winter!
So why should your lawn be any different?

The best reason to take some time with your lawn now, is so you will have less to do next Srping. Here are some tips:

(1) Fertilize. I recommend a double-dose of 20-20-10 granular fert. The reason I put it down double heavy is because some of the nutrients will be used by the lawn now as we are bound to have some 65 degree days in November. The leftover nutrients will remain in the soil and be used by the lawn in March and April. Remember, the thick blanket of snow that sits on the lawn all winter will melt in Spring … just like a nice, heavy rainfall!
(2) Aerate. Aeration is a mechanical process wherein cores of soil are actually removed from the lawn. This removing of cores (about the size of a roll or dimes) helps to relieve compaction. It also allows the grass roots to spread out, thus thickening the lawn. The best time to aerate is now because this is when grass roots form. (as opposed to the grass growing on top in the Spring). You can rent an aerator for about $40 for 4 hours, or call a professional lawn company to do it for about double the cost.
(3) Seed. This is also a good time to overseed the lawn. Overseeding accomplishes several things, but I like to generally overseed the lawn to add in new cultivars that are disease resistant. Remember, cheap seed is garbage! Buy the good stuff that has 0% weed content!
(4) Edge. I recommend a good edging of the lawn using a metal blade edger. This will get all the overgrowth (the grass that flops over the sidewalks and driveways) out of the way when you go to shovel the snow.
(5) Bagging. You should go ahead and bag your lawn clippings for the final couple mowings just to keep things nice and clean. You also might consider cutting the lawn 1” shorter than normal on the final cut of the season. This acts as a way to “rejuvenate” the turf in the Spring.