It’s that time of year again, we’re heading into winter which can be a tough time for your lawn, especially if you’re based in a cold climate. During autumn, grass has the opportunity to thrive will warm sunny days and rain to keep them healthy. So how can you maintain this throughout winter?
Why Winter Can be a Problem for Grass
If you live in a warm climate in the northern parts of Australia, winter doesn’t have much of an impact on grass, however for those based in southern Victoria or Tasmania will notice that grass goes into a state of very slowed growth or a state of semi-hibernation as the weather cools. One reason for this is because we generally grow warm season grass, which means it thrives in warmer weather.
Without swift and regular growth that is synonymous with warmer weather, grass tends to lose its dark green colour, and becomes significantly slower to grow and repair any damage. This is because days are shorter, meaning there is less light and more shade as the position of the sun changes. Due to the loss of direct sunlight, lower soil temperatures, and even frosts, lawns start to become vulnerable and their ability to maintain good health is hindered.
How to Have a Thriving Lawn in Winter
There are a number of things you can do to help prepare your lawn for winter and it’s important these tips are considered before winter arrives. Essentially the goal is to ensure your grass is in ideal health and therefore equipped to tackle anything that winter throws at it!
1. Clear Leaves & Debris
Many trees shed their leaves during autumn which can result in your lawn being covered in leaves and other debris. This can impede drainage, encourages moss, harbors fungal diseases, and can either kill or prevent the strong growth of grass. Clear any leaves or other debris from the lawn during autumn. Rake the lawn surface firmly to remove any embedded debris or moss.
In addition, this is also a perfect time to check your roof and gutters for leaves and debris. Clogged gutters prevent the flow of water and can cause significant damage to your roof, walls and foundations. As always, we recommend having high quality gutter guards professionally installed.
2. Remove Weeds
Weeds can get into your lawn after being blown-in or they may have been lying dormant in your lawn for some time. You can remove most single weed types by hand, ideally before going to seed. Other flat weeds can simply be mown over as a healthy lawn should be able to choke-out many types of weeds. However, if you’ve got an abundance of weeds, they can spread and overpower the lawn. If this is the case, you should treat them as early as possible. Therefore, speak with your local nursery to see what herbicides to use.
3. Mow at a Higher Height
Keep your lawn at a healthy length by taking the mower up by a couple of notches. Leaving more of the leaf will increase the food supply to the grass, which will help the grass protect itself in preparation for winter. This is critical if you live in an area that is prone to getting frosts.
4. Reduce or Stop Watering
As the weather cool, the requirement to water your lawn diminishes. If you are in a cool climate, watering is not required however if you are in a warmer climate, just reduce how often and how long your sprinklers run. Over watering during cooler months can increase the risk of disease or rot forming.
5. Add Fertiliser
Add a high-quality winter fertiliser that that contains potassium and iron. Potassium increases plant cell health and structure. This will help provide protection during the cold winter months. Check your grass type and get ask your local nursery to provide a recommended fertiliser for you.
6. Prune Trees and Bushes
If you have trees and bushes, check if they are shading your lawn. As decreased light levels in winter affect grass health, over-grown trees and bushes can magnify the impact. Therefore, prune them back as required.