Should You Fertilize Your Lawn in Winter?


If you have lived in Northeast Ohio during the winter, you know this season is particularly unpredictable. On any given Monday it can be below zero and snowing, but by Tuesday it could be 54 degrees and sunny.

What you can predict about winter in Ohio is that when we are hit with a winter “heat wave”, that is any temperature above 32 degrees, people will be ready to spend some time outdoors taking care of their lawns and landscape.

Winter lawn care tips

When the snow melts and you start to see more and more of your green grass it might be tempting to try and give it some extra nutrients to get it through the winter. However, it is not necessary or beneficial to fertilize your lawn during the winter months.

The grass is dormant and not actively growing, so it is not able to effectively utilize the nutrients provided by fertilization. In fact, applying fertilizer during the winter can be harmful to your lawn as it can stimulate weak, new growth that is not able to withstand the cold temperatures and can be damaged by frost or freezing.

Some things you can do to take care of your Ohio lawn during the winter are:

  • Clear large piles of snow, which helps prevent snow mold
  • Remove leaves and other lawn debris that can prevent sunlight and air flow from reaching your grass, and trap moisture, which can cause lawn diseases
  • Cover vulnerable plants with burlap to protect them from salt used to melt ice
  • Prevent damage to your trees and shrubs by removing any lingering, heavy snow from branches

When should you start fertilizing your lawn?

Your first fertilizer application should take place in early spring when your grass first begins to grow. In Northeast Ohio, this is typically between March and April when temperatures start consistently staying near 50 degrees.

To get the maximum results from fertilizer, it is best to water within the first 24 hours after an application. This helps nutrients get absorbed into the soil and fertilizer off blades of grass, preventing leaf burn.

Cleveland Ohio Lawn Care Services

LawnMatters offers lawn care services in Northeast Ohio for every season. Please contact us to learn how we can help.

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