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Tips to Help Your Lawn Survive the Winter

11/9/2017 6:00:00 AM

​By: Katie Kuchta, LawnStarter ​

As fun as summer is, it often leaves your lawn looking the worse for wear. Days with too much sun, traffic, and too little water; invasions by weeds, pests, diseases—perfectly understandable if the lawn is looking a bit bedraggled in the fall. As the days get cooler, you'll mow shorter, water less, overseed, and fertilize. Here are some additional ways to help your lawn survive the winter and be ready to green up hale and hardy in the spring.​

1. Dethatch the Soil

Lawns overrun with thatch are prone to winter injury. The thatch shelters disease-causing organisms such as snow mold. There are two ways to deal with it. Core aeration punches cylindrical plugs out of the lawn, loosening the soil and stirring up the microorganisms that will break up the thatch. Dethatching also helps promote stro​nger roots​, which is something you will definitely want for the winter months. 

Dethatching done with a vertical mower. The mower's blades cut down into the thatch without damaging the healthy grass. The thatch is brought up to the surface, raked up, and under the best conditions, added to a compost pile.​

2. Check Your Soil's pH

Late fall is the best time to test your soil pH and make any necessary corrections. If your soil is too acidic, it is not going to get the nutrients it needs over the winter. You can get the results of your test from a lab or your local cooperative extension. pH meters are very affordable–$15-25, and you don't have to wait for the results. Be sure to follow the manufacturer instructions for collecting and testing your soil.

3. Get Rid of the Weeds

You can dig out the weeds or kill them with boiling water or vinegar spray. If your lawn is too far gone for that, keep mowing your grass throughout winter at its recommended height. Most winter weeds can't survive repeated mowing and will die. Use a bag attachment on your mower to catch seeds so they won't get back on the lawn and germinate.​

4. Remove Leaves Before Snowfall

Leaves block sunlight, smother the grass and prevent moisture from evaporating on the lawn. Rake up the leaves to add to your compost pile or leave them on the lawn. Chop them into small pieces with a mulching mower and let them return their nutrients to the soil.

5. Remove Everything Else Also

Give your lawn the same respect in the winter as you would in the summer and remove any additional "junk."  To avoid large dead patches in the spring, keep the assorted debris, abandoned bicycles or toys, and errant lawn furniture off the lawn.​

6. Keep Off the Lawn

It seems harmless to walk across the short, brown, dormant grass, but it is, in fact, more vulnerable to traffic than that summer green grass is. You might feel as though you're walking on snow and ice, but those winter boots are stomping your grass to death. Keep the sidewalks clear of ice and snow to discourage guests from cutting across the lawn. You already know not to park a car on your lawn, right? That's the fastest way to kill the good grass and make room for crabgrass and other types of weeds to move in.​

7. Pull Out Your Annuals

Annuals die every year. If you leave them, the dead plants become luxury condos for lawn- and garden-killing insects. Before winter starts, pull up the spent plants in it's entirety–including the roots. Discard of the remnants as needed by disposing them into your compost pile.​​​

8. Mulch the Perennials

Perennials might look like they are dying, but they are merely going dormant. They will however, return again and brighten your lawn in the spring. Make sure to trim perennials down to the surface level, this keeps the root intact throughout the winter. If your lawn is blanketed with insulating snow in the winter, the perennials will be fine. If there is little or no snow cover in your region, you need to protect the perennials with two or three inches of mulch, such as shredded leaves or pine needles.​

Visit Ariens at GIE + EXPO in Louisville, KY, October 19 & 20 at Booth #7120

10/16/2017 5:00:00 AM

​Join Ariens at GIE + Expo in Louisville, KY, on October 19 and 20, 2017, to see the latest innovation in outdoor power equipment. Ariens will be located both inside the show at booth 7120 and outside in booth 6160D.

This year, Ariens unveiled several new products, including RapidTrak track technology for Sno-Thro machines, the Professional 21 commercial single-stage snow thrower and several others. Ariens will also be displaying a concept machine in its booth, showcasing the company's commitment to innovation.

Visitors to the booth will have the opportunity to test drive the newest equipment in both the commercial snow removal and residential lawn care markets. As a bonus for your demo, you'll receive a free Ariens baseball cap and an entry to win a zero-turn mower.

During the dealer-preview day on Wednesday, dealers who visit the Ariens booth will have the chance to win one of three iPads. Winners must be present to claim their prize.

New this year, Landscaping Industry Consultant Marty Grunder will be conducting educational sessions in Ariens' indoor booth, #7120, on Thursday, October 19 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  Marty is an acclaimed public speaker and author of the book, The Nine Simple Steps to Entrepreneurial Success.  He is an Ohio Certified Nursery Technician Master Certification.  Marty's consultancy, Marty Grunder! Inc. is the go to source for countless landscaping companies across North America, helping their clients grow and prosper.

In addition, sales representatives from Ariens will present a Power Session at Landscapes titled, Sell Something!  Nothing Happens Until Someone Sells Something. There is a minimal fee for this session.  For more information, follow this link:

For more information about Ariens, please visit    

Transitioning Your Yard from Summer to Fall

10/13/2017 5:00:00 AM

By: Katie Kuchta, LawnStarter​

When most people think of the transition from summer to fall it means cooler days, the start of school, and the leaves on trees changing color. 

But when it comes to your lawn, there are a whole slew of things to think about.  In fact, the transition from summer to fall is one of the most important times to make sure you're following proper lawn care practices.

Schedule an aeration

In nearly every region of the country, Fall is prime time for core aeration. 

Over time, your soil becomes compacted by lawn mowers, foot traffic and even just the weight of the soil.  The more compact the soil is, the harder it is for water, air, and nutrients to reach the roots of the grass.  Lawns that go years without aeration are bound to become overcome with weeds, which fare better in compact soil than grass does.

Core aeration relieves this compaction by pulling out small plugs of dirt from the lawn, typically 2-3 inches deep and ¼-½ inch in diameter.  The plugs are left on top to crumble and return to the soil, and the holes allow grass roots to breathe.

Why aerate in fall?  As mentioned in this previous article, "fall aeration helps strengthen underground root systems while providing an excellent bed for overseeding."

You'll want to aerate in early Fall, so that your lawn has time to get the benefits before winter.  And since most companies have a 3 week lead time on aeration, it's important to schedule it in advance.

Pair your aeration with overseeding

Overseeding is the process of spreading seed over an existing lawn to replace dead grass, filling out your lawn for a full, lush look.  Overseeding also helps crowd out weeds.

Aeration and overseeding go together like peanut butter and jelly for two reasons.  For one, they both happen to be most beneficial during a lawn's growing season.  Secondly, the when seeds fall into the holes created by aeration, they tend to sprout better.

It's important to note that overseeding is more common in northern parts of the country.

Increase your mowing frequency

In most regions, grass grows faster during Fall than it does during summer.  This is simply because most grass types go dormant during the heat of the summer as a survival mechanism. 

So as the weather starts to cool, it's important to increase your mowing frequency to keep up with the growth.

In markets like Texas, it's common to go from monthly during the summer to biweekly during the fall.  Whereas in northern markets like Minneapolis, you might be switching from biweekly mowing to weekly mowing.

Adjust your watering schedule

In most regions, your lawn watering regimen will differ between summer and fall.  Unfortunately, there's no one-size fits all recommendation because schedule not only depends on your climate, but your local regulations.  LawnStarter Lawn Care recommends the following in Phoenix:  "Water a bermudagrass lawn once every three days during the summer….in the winter, Bermuda-grass lawns go dormant and need no supplemental watering."

Further reading

These are just a few basic tips on making your lawn's transition from summer to fall.  For more information, check out the following resources:

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