07 Nov How to Get Your Organic Lawn Ready for Winter!
At Natureworks, our focus is on building healthy soil and creating a healthy ecosystem that will encourage lawn grass and discourage weeds. Healthy turf grass in healthy soil will crowd out weeds, out-competing them for nutrients, light, and water. And most importantly, you, your children and your pets will not be harmed by chemicals in your own yard. We have a wonderful organic lawn care program, and are here to answer any questions you may have!
Putting the Lawn to Bed for 2016
What should be done this time of year for the organic lawn? There are many
important cultural practices to do that will improve the health of the lawn for 2017.
We will always advocate for you to first take a soil test and adjust the pH with one of the two types of lime we carry. The soil test will help us to tell you which one. If the pH of your soil is in the neutral range, the grass will be happy growing there and the weeds will be discouraged. Scroll down to see links to soil testing below. Lime can be applied until the ground starts to freeze.
The next step is to lower the cutting height of your mower for the last two cuts of the season. The lawn should go into winter at a shorter height so when the snow flies it will only pack down short blades of grass. Do not scalp the lawn-we recommend 2.5″. Go ahead and mow it short soon in case we get an early dose of snow!
If you have a thick covering of leaves on the lawn, rake them up and add them to your compost bin or spread them on the gardens. If there are a nice amount of scattered leaves on the lawn, use them to your advantage and mow right over them and mulch them right into the lawn. The chopped leaves will quickly break down and add organic matter and nutrients to the soil. Remember-our motto in fall is “Leave the Leaves” on your property. They are the natural way the earth mulches and feeds itself!
Interestingly, I learned a new fact about leaves and GRUBS from a Yale gardener last fall. CLICK HERE to read why the leaves can help a grub problem!
Next, apply a fall fertilizer if you have not already done so. This is the most important feeding of the year as the roots are storing carbohydrates for the upcoming winter. If the roots are happy, the spring lawn should take right off!
Apply organic Pro Gro fertilizer. Each 50lb bag covers 2,500 square feet.
Lastly, consider dormant seeding your lawn. I hear you thinking, “What? Seed now??”Did you know a thick growing lawn is the best defense against weeds? Weeds are opportunists! They thrive in thin, bare patches of lawn. We asked our friend (and organic lawn expert) Bill Ross, Vice President of SafeLawns of Salem in Salem, CT to explain dormant seeding. Here is what he said:
“Dormant seeding, especially when done in conjunction with core aeration and compost topdressing is an excellent method to reinvigorate a lawn that is thin or stressed from the recent fall drought. Seeding now allows for better seed to soil contact, which is the critical factor in a successful germination process. There is less competition from existing turf growth and other weeds that take hold in the bare areas of the lawn.
The freeze/thaw cycle also helps to create small cracks and voids in the soil surface which allow seed to penetrate resulting in more seed to soil contact.
If you topdress with compost, in addition to better seed to soil contact, you increase organic matter while suppressing annual weeds like crabgrass. Another advantage to late fall seeding is that you have access to sites that may otherwise be wet and muddy during the spring thaw and rains. It allows you to do a more complete and thorough job. The goal is not to germinate the seed now, but in spring as the soil warms up.”
Doesn’t that make perfect sense? Thank you to Bill for the wonderfully clear explanation!
Both of the grass seeds we carry are perfect for dormant seeding. We carry our Natureworks Blend from Harts Seed Co and Eco-Lawn from Wildflower Farm. We also have bagged compost to fill in any bare spots.
Last year I dormant seeded areas of my lawn in November and the weather stayed warm. To my surprise the seeds sprouted, grew and filled in beautifully before we actually got any really cold weather or snow. The lawn looked great this spring!
Imagine heading into next spring with this work already done. Wouldn’t that feel wonderful? As a faithful organic lawn customer and reader of our lawn blast, we offer to you a 20% discount on any bag of grass seed we have in stock. If you do not overseed, please try to go against the urge to clear the leaves from your property. They are a valuable resource-and they are free.
Thank you so much for reading our lawn blasts this year. We have heard from many of you that your lawns look great! This makes us so happy knowing we are helping you create a healthy, sustainable organic lawn.
See you in 2017!