How to Care for Your Lawn During Winter

Many of us struggle to keep our lawns looking amazing throughout the year. Taking a year-round approach can be challenging and difficult to maintain, after all. But even in the winter, you’ll find that the right kind of maintenance will ensure that you have a gorgeous lawn come spring.

In most areas, the grass will be dormant. In the north, where temperatures are too cold, plenty of people wait for spring to start lawn care. But your lawn doesn’t have to wait long to get proper care and maintenance.

We’re here to answer the question, “What should you do to your grass in the winter?” so you can have healthy grass in the spring.

Ways to Care for Your Lawn During Winter


Winter is a perfect time to fertilize your lawn. Make sure you select quality fertilizer recommended by a professional and read the directions on the package, using only the amount indicated. Too much fertilizer may burn the lawn.

Once you have the fertilizer, use a spreader to evenly get it across your lawn. Move the spreader over and grip the trigger-like handle, which shoots pellets across the area you wish to fertilize.

If you think all the instructions might be too much to remember and handle yourself, hire lawn care services in your area. If you are unsure about whether lawn care companies can help you at this time of the year, you’ll be pleased to know that many are fully equipped to prepare your lawn for the spring.

Cool-Weather Grass Seed

It is a good idea to invest in ‘cool weather’ or ‘cool season’ seeds. Sprinkle seeds on the lawn with a fertilizer spreader. Spread the seeds evenly over the area so there aren’t clumps of grass later on.

Water and Rake the Lawn

Raking your lawn does more than just clear the top layer of debris and other problems. It also helps break up the soil and add a bit of air to it. Watering the lawn with a simple garden hose will also help give it a head start for the spring season. This simple lawn care in winter makes a big difference come spring.

Aerate the Lawn

You should take the time to aerate your lawn, providing air to your lawn’s grass roots. Take out small pieces of lawn and make holes with a spade where you can plant seeds. For a larger lawn, use a motorized aerator rather than a manual one, as this will save you time and energy to focus on your winter lawn care project.

Tidy Your Lawn Up

A very important part of lawn care is making sure it’s clear of debris. Winter is the perfect time to collect paper, plastic, and other litter that can gather on the lawn. If you have children, you will also need to put in more effort to find tiny toys misplaced on your lawn. Items left on the grass smash it down and invite problems, such as mice, insects, and other pests.

Lower Your Mower Height

When approaching winter, you are highly encouraged to lower the height of your mower. Adjusting it a notch or two is sufficient, as you don’t want the grass cut too short.

When grass is left too long, it is more susceptible to disease. Long grass also gets damaged by freezing and thawing conditions, so erring on the shorter side is better as you go into winter.

Monitor Weather to Make Changes

Lawns can be very resilient, tolerating extreme weather conditions. Even so, some conditions will be harmful in the long term. Allowing water to pool in an area too long will kill off the grass, just as a lack of water during a dry season does. Professionals from lawn care services can give you tips to prevent this kind of damage.

Avoid Salt Damage

De-icing products and salt can be damaging to the lawn when they leak into it from walkways and other areas. When treating walkways near your lawn, choose products with calcium chloride or other alternatives to sodium chloride.

If possible, don’t pile the snow up on your lawn. Instead, pile it on a sidewalk or driveway edge. If you know there is a great deal of salt runoff, make sure to deep water your lawn when the permafrost breaks. You should also refrain from leaving bags of de-icing salt near lawn areas, which could severely affect plant growth.

Weeding in Early Spring

As you go into winter, you may notice that a few weeds pop up all over the place. You can opt to use a particular weed killer that will kill pre-emergent weeds, but it must be applied when the ground isn’t frozen. A few cautionary applications heading into the winter will help eliminate the need for aggressive weed pulling when you hit spring.

You should also be extra observant of the lawn as you hit early spring. This is a good time to get the weeds out of the way so that they don’t get too strong of a hold as you enter the growing season. You can even ask your lawn care professionals to apply pre-emergent weed killer.

Monitor Traffic

When under snow, your dormant grass can deal with a bit of traffic. However, paths that are worn heavily will be slow to mature come spring. If you have a path that everyone seems to walk on, you may need to change it up once in a while. You can also consider creating official paths in areas you regularly use anyway. Pavers, mulch, or similar materials may be a better option than letting your lawn get beaten down. If you’re wondering, “What do lawn care companies do in the winter,” they are busy protecting grass with mulch or pavers.

Because winters can be so unpredictable, you must make an extra effort to protect your lawn as you go into the season. Make sure your grass is a bit hardened and that you put your lawn to bed, which basically means doing the final mow, cleaning debris, and fertilizing before the weather turns. Once your lawn has received the appropriate winter care, you can focus on the fun stuff like holidays, making snowmen, and building memories with your loved ones.

Check and Maintain Your Equipment

When you aren’t required to use your mower every week for lawn care, use this as an opportunity to give it a thorough check. Make sure your mower gets cleaned well and repaired, if necessary. You should also use this time to get your blades sharpened so they deliver a clean cut once you start using the mower again. Dull blades can lead to more lawn disease and even bare patches.

Check Your Owner’s Manual

Take the time to go over your owner’s manual to make any adjustments and perform maintenance tasks for your mower. Doing so ensures that your equipment works at its best when you need it. Prepare the appropriate storage space according to the manual’s instructions so it will be ready to hustle again in the spring. After all, mowing isn’t usually part of lawn care in winter.

Pest Control

It may seem counterintuitive, but winter is a good season to go ahead and treat your lawn for summer pests. You won’t be thinking of the problem as you head into early spring, but once temps hit about 50 degrees, you will need to start spraying your lawn for mosquitos. You can do this if you have the time and tools, or you can hire a professional.

Get Professional Lawn Care Assistance

If you want to give your lawn adequate care in the winter, contact a professional team to discuss your options. A little preventative care will go a long way toward helping you maintain a gorgeous lawn, perfect for entertaining guests all summer long.

Call LawnMart today to find out how we can help transform your lawn and get a free quote!

Michael Schäfer

President – LawnMart Inc.

Years of Experience: 31 Years

  • Land Class 1 and 3 Licenses Since 1993
  • Pest Control Operator License Since 1995
  • PIC Accredited Pest Technician Examiner Since 2004
  • Biting Flies Control License Since 2020

Michael Schäfer is President and Founder of LawnMart Inc. After training privately under Dr. Larry Whiddell of Ohio State University, he became a Lawn Technician at Barefoot Grass Lawn Services (1993) and leveled up to Tree/Shrub Care Manager before taking over all Canadian operations as Area Manager. In 1996, Michael founded LawnMart Inc., which has since grown into a multi-award-winning company that cares for thousands of lawns in the Golden Horseshoe area.