Winter can be a tough time for your lawn, especially for those who live in colder climates. Frosts, icy winds, shorter days and colder nights can leave grass looking pale and tired.
The best way to keep your lawn alive and thriving during winter is to prepare. Autumn is the perfect time to take a few simple steps that will go a long way to keep your lawn happy and healthy.
Over autumn, your lawn may become littered with leaves from deciduous trees. It’s important to address this quickly, as fallen leaves can shade your lawn, preventing it from getting the sunlight and nutrients it needs. The build-up of leaves can also cause excess moisture, which can lead to fungal diseases.
To get rid of fallen leaves on your lawn, simply rake them up into a pile and place them into a compost bin, your council’s green waste bin, or repurpose them as mulch.
Chances are, your lawn has probably acquired a few weeds over summer. Bindiis are particularly troublesome, as they germinate over autumn and winter before flowering and becoming painful in summer.
There are many herbicides that are designed to target bindiis. If you’re unsure what to use, contact your local garden centre or turf supplier for advice. Getting rid of bindiis in autumn and winter will save you a lot of hassle when the weather starts to warm!
Over the summer, areas of your lawn have probably become compacted. This happens in areas where there’s a lot of foot traffic, such as a path from the house to the tool shed, or under the clothesline. Over time, grass in these areas die and are replaced by weeds.
There are a few options for addressing compacted soil that will help prepare your lawn for winter:
If your lawn has become patchy over summer, it’s important to repair these areas before the cold hits. Before jumping in to fix these spots, consider why the patches may have occurred. It could be for a number of reasons, including:
Once you’ve figured out why your lawn is patchy, you can take steps to address it. For example, areas that are consistently shaded may require a more shade-tolerant grass such as Palmetto Buffalo Grass.
As winter approaches, adjust the cutting height on your mower to be a little higher than usual. Having longer blades of grass increases the exposed surface area of the plant, allowing it to soak up more sun and nutrients from the environment.
A lot of lawn varieties also grow much slower in winter or become dormant. This makes raising the cutting height all the more important.
Your lawn will likely need a little assistance to get the nutrients it needs during winter. To help it along, apply a slow-release fertiliser across the entire lawn. Look for ones that are rich in potassium and iron which will benefit the health and cell structure of the plant.
By applying a few simple steps in the lead-up to winter, your lawn can remain healthy even through the harshest frosts.