While homeowners can anticipate foregoing regular mowing, watering and weeding in the winter, lawns do require some care in the cooler months. The winter season is actually a good time to improve your lawn. Re-seeding, for example, yields great results when done in cooler months because seeds have the opportunity to germinate without competing with weeds. For the do-it-yourselfer, the winter lawn care list is short but necessary for a healthy lawn to emerge come spring.
Remove any leaves remaining on the lawn with a rake.
Cut the grass at a lower height than normal. Cut one inch lower for warm season grasses and two inches lower for cool-season grasses. Lawns that are cut higher than two inches during the winter are susceptible to trapping moisture, which may cause diseases in the spring.
Aerate the lawn to release any impacted areas that may have accumulated over the summer months.
Inspect the lawn for sparse patches of grass. Seed the bare areas of the lawn.
Fertilize the lawn with a sustained-release nitrogen fertilizer just before it goes dormant.
Water the lawn to activate the fertilizer.
Empty water from sprinkler lines and turn off the system.
Shovel small piles of snow that accumulate on the lawn, or for larger lawns, spread the snow into large piles to expedite melting. Snow mold can develop on lawns that are left wet for an extended period of time.