Cold Weather and How It Affects Your Lawn

Prep Lawn for Winter | Winter Lawn Prep | Lawn Prep For Winter | How To Prep Lawn For Winter | Prep Your Lawn For WinterUnsurprisingly, the cold weather of winter can be a problematic time for grass. This can be especially true in the Northeast where your lawn can be plagued by extended periods of snow cover, frozen soil and ice. Maintaining bright green grass can be a challenge, and the changes to your grass during winter can also affect how healthy your grass is the following year.

Winter Lawn Care Tips | Winter Lawn Maintenance Tips | Winter Lawn Preparation Tips | Lawn Care Tips For Fall and WinterEffects of Cold Weather on Lawns


Most grass goes dormant in winter. This means that it will look dead, but is still technically alive. When your grass turns brown, it conserves water and nutrients to help get through the winter and make it to spring. If you see this, know that it is more than likely temporary for the season.


Sadly, not all grass will survive. Some will go through desiccation, which is moisture loss caused by the extreme cold. Because the combination of snow and ice doesn’t allow moisture to reach the roots, desiccation is always a possibility. Once the spring arrives, you can consult with lawn and garden experts about overseeding these dead spots to plant new grass.

Continued Growth

Some grass will continue growing, at least for a while. Some “winter grasses” like ryegrass or fescue will blossom and grow even through harsh winter conditions.

Mold Damage

A common grass disease during the winter months is snow mold. While preventative measures can be taken to greatly reduce this risk, there’s still a possibility it can develop on your lawn. Don’t let the risk of mold prevent you from fertilizing your lawn in the winter. You can apply a winter fertilizer after the grass has stopped growing in the fall, but is still green on top. In many parts of the Northern U.S., this can be sometime in mid-late November or early December.

Damage and Death

Unfortunately, damage and death is a possibility. That’s why it’s recommended that you do not step on your lawn when it has snow on it. The pressure from the snow and your weight can damage grass, especially if your grass was already weak before the winter.

Mowing Lawn in Fall | Cutting Grass in Cold Weather | Mowing Lawn in Cold Weather | Cold Weather Grass Seeding | Grass Seeding in the FallHow to Prepare Your Lawn for Winter Temperatures

It’s recommended you make a plan to mow your lawn 2-3 times before the first frost of the season. In general, you should cut your grass after it has become dormant but before the frost. Ideally, the height of your grass should be between 2 1/2 and 3 inches in height by the time cold weather hits. As previously mentioned, you can also fertilize your grass one last time before hard frosts set. This allows the grass to get an extra boost of nutrients while it stays dormant for the winter season.

For other tips on how to prepare your lawn and garden for winter, check out our previous blog.