Luckily, living in Los Angeles, California, we don’t have to worry about intense winter conditions such as feet of snow fall, or deep freezes. However, our climate does face it’s own winter conditions; ones that can really destroy your lawn. Below are some helpful tips which we feel any home owner can use to protect your lawn!
1. Mow your grass to 2 inches, and leave the cuttings on the yard
This simple action has great benefits for helping you prepare for winter. Leaving the clippings on the lawn increases the nitrogen for the grass beneath. How much nitrogen? Roughly 25% – which makes a substantial difference during colder winter temperatures.
2. Aerate Your Lawn
Aerating your lawn opens up channels for important nutrients to reach down to the root systems of your foliage. As the colder temperatures can compact the soil and make it harder, and thus tougher for nutrients to penetrate- the root systems get less and less nutrients which will inevitably cause your lawn to die. A simple aeration tool which you can pick up at any big-box retailer such as Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware and more. This is a great way to protect your lawn.
3. Fertilization – To Protect Your Lawn From Hard Soil
This type of fertilization should happen at different times depending on your geographical location. If you live in the south, then you should consider applying fertilizer to your lawn just before it turns brown (when it stop growing). Doing this will give the roots of your lawn an extra push for new growth and will also give your lawn a jump start on turning green again in the spring. . Lawns turn brown as a defense against the cold, feeding before this time encourages fresh growth and will protect your lawn.
4. Protect Your Lawn By Removing Dead Leaves from Plants and Flowers
Take the time to remove partially or completely damaged leaves from your plants. Make sure to rake up these extra bits and put them to compost. You can make a valuable lawn conditioner from these excess leaves and bits. This kind of composting is only partial, and makes what is called “leaf mold”. The proper mix for this conditioner is 2 parts brown material to 1 part green material.
5. Preparing Roses and Other Delicate Flowers:
With a barrier:
- Tree roses, or standards, are vulnerable to the cold, so you’ll want to help them cope with winter. Begin by setting four stakes in the ground around and just beyond the mulched root zone.
- Wrap a protective barrier of burlap around the stakes and tie it in place with string. Then fill in the middle with an insulating layer of shredded dry leaves. The rose is now shielded from harsh winds.
- Enclose shrubs in cylinders of cardboard, metal, or plastic or in commercially made foam rose cones for maximum protection. Fill them with shredded bark, paper, or leaves for added insulation.
- Protect the graft (or bud union) and crown of roses by mulching with loose soil, wood chips, shredded bark, or shredded leaves. Mound the mulch to a foot high over the base of the plant.
- The canes of climbing roses are vulnerable to winter wind and sun. They need special attention in regions where winter temperatures typically drop below zero. Either wrap the canes with burlap or detach them from their supporting trellis and lay them horizontally on the ground. Cover them with a mulch of leaves, wood chips, or soil.
When it comes time to prepare for winter, these few steps can really make sure that your lawn is protected and ready to be dormant over the winter months and to bounce back with green vitality when the spring once again graces the landscape.