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As the air cools and the days get shorter, prepping your lawn actually becomes quite simple.
There’s an old myth that being winter-ready requires a ton of attention, investment and time, but we’re here to tell you it’s not nearly that complicated. With a few key tools (see below) and a few easy tips (also see below), you and your lawn should be in good shape to weather the weather and come out bright and shining in the spring.
Mother Nature is unpredictable (and so are the many natural – and unnatural – issues that can wreak havoc on your lawn when the weather turns), so it’s worth the investment to protect and maintain all of your hard work. We’ve tailored our list for colder environments where ice, snow, sudden rains and large temperature shifts can all cause issues.
Even if you’re a lawn care novice, don’t fret. Keep reading on to find out what you really need to protect and winterize your yard.
Easy Ways to Winterize Your Yard
1. Fertilize appropriately and aerate: Pick a suitable cooler-season fertilizer, then follow up with an aerating tool of your choosing to provide some extra air and stability for the grass heading into the chillier months.
2. Rake and water: Fall leaves can actually decay your lawn (due to leaves’ high acidity), so it’s important to get them off your lawn before snow and heavy rains begin. Speaking of water, late fall is a great time to use a nice, gentle spray to protect against the much drier cold air.
3. Flush out the sprinklers: If you do live in a cold-weather environment, flush out your sprinkler system after the season’s last watering to help prevent freezing and cracking underneath.
4. Overseeding: For cool-season lawns, adding extra grass seed can help push out pesky weeds that also tend to germinate in the spring. This can be done throughout fall.
For more on lawn winterizing, we compiled some of our own picks along with must-have favorites from Blythe Yost, CEO of online landscape design company Tilly. Yost helped us pick out eight great tools to help your lawn survive (and thrive) through the chill.
1. Snow Joe 18 in. Combination Snow Shovel/Pusher
BEST SNOW SHOVEL
“This is the ultimate winter accessory,” Yost told us. “The best snow shovels are strong, light, and efficient.” She advises that homeowners find a combination snow shovel that has a deep enough scoop to lift snow and a metal edge for scraping. Opt for an 18” option, like this one from Snow Joe, as they’re the optimal size for maneuverability.
2. BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX 22-Inch String Trimmer, Powercut
BEST STRING TRIMMER
Fall is a great time to push back unruly shrubs and cut branches down to size. Not only will this help keep everything healthy, but also will protect your greenery should there be significant ice or frost. This string trimmer quick cuts branches up to 3/4-in. In diameter and does it all with less fatigue on the user (you).
3. A.M. Leonard 54-Inch Rake
BEST WINTER RAKE
“Most people think of rakes for fall leaf clean up, but a good spring rake can be useful throughout the seasons,” Yost says. “Tease out the thatch in an aging lawn in the winter, smooth out the mulch in a freshly dressed bed in the spring, or clean up branches and leaves from your fresh pruning job. It’s a great tool you can use in numerous ways.”
4. BLACK+DECKER Corded 6.5-Amp Pole Saw
BEST POLE SAW
Simply put, there are far too many dangers to using a chainsaw while on a ladder, so a lengthy pole saw is the next best tool to reach high branches when trimming. This BLACK+DECKER option comes in at a very movable 7.9 lbs. and should cut through a range of branch types, especially as they shed their leaves in the fall. For simple jobs, this is a great way to save on cost instead of hiring a professional trimmer.
5. A.M. Leonard Classic Soil Knife
BEST SOIL KNIFE
Yost says that despite the unusual shape of this trowel, it’s really useful when it comes to hand planting and weeding. This is a great tool to break up clodded soil for annual planters or unearthing taproots.
6. CRAFTSMAN Leaf Blower/Vacuum
BEST LEAF BLOWER
If you have any sort of reasonably-sized yard, a leaf blower can make a tedious job much faster and easier. You’ll want a powerful blower that can also move around other yard debris (because small branches may also fall with the leaves). This combo machine is a great multi-purpose option for blowing leaves into one area, then picking them up with the vacuum function.
Read More: Comparing The Best Leaf Blower Vacuums
7. Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Lawn Fertilizer
BEST WINTER FERTILIZER
As we mentioned, now is the time to get the right fertilizer on your lawn. You’ll want to find one that can help grass prepare for the winter ahead while repairing damage brought on from summer. Fertilizers also come in a range of container sizes, so there’s surely one with the right amount for your outdoor space.
8. Cerbonnny 3M Thinsulate Outdoor Faucet Cover
BEST FAUCET COVER
You might have gotten as far as insulating any open pipes in the garage, but don’t forget about hose faucets or other openings outside. The last thing you want is a cracked pipe in the middle of winter – or when you go to freshen things up at the last thaw before spring. This cover couldn’t be any easier to put on an includes superior Thinsulate protection.