Though many people work diligently to maintain a beautiful lawn during summer and Autumn, winter is commonly seen as an impossibility when it comes to keeping your lawn looking its best. However, we’re here to let you know that’s a total myth.
While it is true that decreased amounts of sunlight and lower soil temperatures can affect the grass’ colouring, growth patterns and its ability to repair itself, winter lawn care doesn’t have to be a source of concern.
Winter Lawn Care Tips
The good news - or unavoidable news, rather - is that many lawns will become dormant to semi dormant throughout winter months, making your lawn upkeep minimal.
Due to lowered soil and air temperatures, watering can be reduced in winter months. Watering your lawn is best done in the morning, and you should avoid over watering, as it can promote fungal disease in your thatch layer and may result in additional frost damage. Generally speaking, soil remains moist during winter months, requiring less overall irrigation.
This is also the perfect time for machine maintenance, as mowing requirements are lessened. In winter months, your main priorities are service and maintenance, and renovating procedures like scarifying and de-thatching are discouraged.
The use of a slow release fertiliser with a good NPK (Nitrogen Phosphorus + Potassium) ratio is integral to plant health during winter, with potassium adding to the overall plant health and strength, helping it survive the cooler winter period. Foliar liquid fertilisers are also an advantage during winter, as tests have shown that foliar feeding can be up to 8 to 10 times more effective than soil feeding. Also keep in mind that cool season grasses like Perennial Rye Grass (PRG) can be used successfully for over sowing in warm season Couch grass.
Solid tyne aerating in winter is a perfect time to release compaction, as it aids in access for nutrients to reach the target root zone.
More than anything else, the key to successful winter lawn care is all in the preparation. By setting your lawn up for success with all the tools it needs to survive the cooler temperatures, as well as using your spare time to ensure your equipment is in good working order and ready for growth season, you save yourself lots of time, effort and money down the line.
In autumn, we recommend applying pre-emergent to prevent the onset of winter weeds, including varieties like bindii, oxalis clovers and wintergrass. Additionally, pruning any overhanging trees or shrubs will allow more sunlight to reach your lawn during winter’s shorter days, and mowing heights can be raised slightly to allow for heightened photosynthesis during the days.
Finally, we recommend adding pre-emergent in late August to prevent the onset of spring and summer weeds.