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How to Help Your Yard Recover from Winter

yellow flowers popping up through the snow

Your yard goes dormant throughout the winter, and the cold temperatures can seriously wear it down. Help your yard recover from winter with these tips.


  • Remove any patches of damaged lawn. Salt, plows and disease can do a number on your grass, so use a metal rake to remove any dead or damaged patches.

  • Don’t mow too early. Grass needs a chance to reestablish itself, so let it grow reasonably tall before mowing. For the first mow, use the high setting to keep the grass strong.

  • Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer in early spring. You can also apply herbicide early on to prevent weeds from growing.

  • Overseed your lawn. Overseeding is the process of planting grass seeds directly into the existing turf. This leads to denser grass with more color variation. Though best done in the fall, you can still get great results by overseeding in the spring. Slit-seeder machines can do the work for you; ask a home supply store specialist for help choosing one.

  • Prune trees and shrubs. Using a pruner, trim trees and shrubs back to their live stems. (For any branches thicker than ½ inch, use a handsaw.)

  • Trim perennials and grasses. Cut back flowering perennials to a height of four or five inches and grasses to two or three inches. This will allow space for new growth.

  • Clean up the area around plants. Rake up any leaves, uproot any dead annuals and remove existing mulch a little at a time as the temperatures warm. (Wait until the soil warms up in mid- to late-spring before applying a new layer of mulch. If you put it down too early, it will slow the warming process.)

  • Restore your walkway. Rake any errant gravel back into place. If you have flagstones, fill new sand or stone dust into the cracks.

With some time and energy, you can bring your yard back to life. Make sure to check out ways to recover your car and home from winter, too. And check-in with your local ERIE Agent to make sure you're covered no matter what season it is.