How To Winter Read The Lawn: In 5 steps

To make the lawn winter-proof for the cold season, a good preparation of the area is extremely important. With the following steps, the lawn can survive even frosty sub-zero temperatures without damage.

  • Prepare and winterize lawn in late fall
  • first remove old leaves and shady objects
  • then mow to a height of 4-5 cm
  • then dethatch extensively and enrich with fertilizer
  • finally, close any gaps in the lawn

Remove autumn leaves

No autumn leaves should be left on the lawn over the winter months. Withered leaves steal the meager light incidence from the grass plants and cut off the oxygen supply. As a result, individual spots can turn yellow or brown, and in extreme cases the grasses may even die. In addition, the decaying foliage provides persistent moisture, which in combination with cool weather conditions can lead to disease. Placed garden benches, Hollywood swings, trampolines and other objects should also be cleared off the lawn. Because these objects cast a significant shadow, they often cause lawn damage. The more sun and light the grass gets, the better it will survive the winter.

  • Rotting leaves promote diseases with molds
  • Reduced sunlight supports growth of moss
  • Remove leaf debris from lawn every week
  • Proceed carefully with fan broom or rake
  • Avoid injury to the turf
  • Compost leaves in wire mesh baskets

Mow last time

Lawns must endure many stresses during the harsh winter months. These include prolonged rainfall, dense snow cover and freezing temperatures that take a toll on it. To keep the grass looking presentable next spring, preparing for winter includes mowing one last time. The right time is crucial to ensure that the lawn recovers sufficiently before the first ground frosts. Cutting the lawn too late can lead to severe frost damage. If the lawn is cut shorter during the cold season, it will remain stronger and more resistant. However, the cutting height must not be too short, otherwise the grass will only perform its protective function in relation to the soil to a limited extent. Thus, frost can penetrate the soil more easily, causing damage to the root zone.

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How To Winter Read The Lawn: In 5 steps
  • Perform last lawn cutting of the year in October
  • In case of very warm autumn days mow a little later
  • Depending on the weather, early to mid-November at the latest is possible
  • Too long blades break off in frost as well as under snow load
  • After that the grass rots and starts to mold
  • Ideal cutting height is 4 to 5 cm
  • Grass cuttings must be removed, not left lying around
  • Otherwise too much moisture will form underneath

Note: As a rule, grasses stop growing at temperatures below 8° to 10° Celsius.


In order to thoroughly winterize the lawn, it must be well aerated once again. In this way, a large amount of overgrown moss and troublesome weeds can be removed. Due to dethatching, the lawn can dry much faster during the rainy winter months. The more intensive the preparation of the lawn surface, the healthier the grasses will survive the cold season.

  • Lawn needs plenty of air to circulate
  • Therefore scarify again in autumn
  • Treat only the upper layer
  • Do not set the scarifier too low under any circumstances
  • Blades should reach about 3 mm into the ground
  • Do not damage the turf and lawn roots


During the cold winter months, the grass takes a longer break from growth. Therefore, it does not make sense to provide the grass plants with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Nevertheless, a final fertilization before the onset of winter is necessary to provide the lawn with important nutrients and make it winter-proof. In contrast to the growth period in spring and summer, the lawn now needs other components, which act like winter protection. In this way, the grasses do not grow as far in length, but rather develop short and strong blades.

  • Fertilize in autumn during the last warm days
  • Special autumn fertilizer is ideal for this purpose
  • Contains significantly more potassium and less nitrogen
  • This increases the salt content in the cell sap of the grass blades
  • Acts as frost protection, as the freezing point of the cell sap is lowered
  • Danger of frost damage is sustainably reduced
  • Spread fertilizer evenly and without gaps
  • Spreading by hand is possible
  • With fertilizer wagons, the dosage can be carried out more precisely
  • Always proceed according to the manufacturer’s instructions
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Tip: If certain sections were overlooked when fertilizing in the fall, they can be immediately identified by the brown color next spring.

Close gaps

Now for the final step, winterizing the lawn. After the heat of summer, lawns often have bare patches by the start of fall. If the soil is still warm enough, unsightly gaps can be closed by reseeding. It also allows the gardener to prevent weeds from spreading. On the other hand, sowing the lawn too late at the end of autumn or in winter has little chance of successful germination of the grasses. If the seed does come up, it does so very unevenly. Then the later growing grass plants do not correspond to the desired appearance and the composition does not look harmonious.

  • Use special mixture for reseeding
  • Seeds are coated with nutrient coating
  • Get a growth advantage directly
  • Are heavier, fall better between existing grass blades
  • Wind does not blow away grass seeds so quickly
  • How to improve the prospect of uniform results
  • First loosen soil slightly in affected areas
  • Then spread about 15 to 30 g of the reseed per square meter
  • Press down firmly and water regularly

Frequently asked question

How can grass plants be made even more robust for the winter?

Why are normal grass seeds not suitable for reseeding?

Although special reseeding mixtures are significantly more expensive than normal grass seeds, the investment is worth it. The seeds directly have a boost of nutrients with them and grow much faster. In addition, birds do not recognize the seeds as conventional grains because of the nutrient coating and do not eat them. In this way, the lawn is once again a flawless shade of green before the onset of winter and is completely winter-proof.

How can the lawn be brought into shape before winter?

To keep the lawn looking neat in winter, the gardener should prepare the lawn edge with an edge trimmer. Thanks to this pruning the grass plants do not grow into the neighboring beds in milder temperatures.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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