Cool weather, shorter days and less sunlight.
For your favourite patch of green, winter offers a recipe for disaster.
It’s true that most lawns take a beating in the colder seasons, but there are a few simple things you can do to ensure yours stays healthy, and ready to surge back to life in the spring.
Here are our simple tips for winter lawn success.
For years, the advice was to cut the grass at a certain height to suit the time of the year.
So what is the right height? Most lawns are warm-season varieties, meaning they grow quicker when the temperature is higher and slower during the cooler months.
As such, you’ll only need to mow about once a month in the winter.
The right height
A rule of thumb is that grass should feel comfortable under bare feet, as the lawn needs sufficient leaf blades to achieve effective photosynthesis. If you cut it too short, it is likely to be weakened, while leaving it too long may cause fungal problems, so finding a happy medium is best.
TIP When it comes to how short to cut the grass at any time of year, think Goldilocks. Not too short, not too long, but just right.
Catch don't mulch
A mulching mower creates very fine pieces of cut grass that provide organic nutrients for the lawn and soil.
But, while this benefits the lawn in spring and summer, the mulch won’t break down as fast in the cool months, resulting in fungal disorders.
So switch the mower from mulch to catch in winter.
Perhaps the most difficult part of lawn care in the cooler months is watering. It can be easily forgotten, or else done too much or too little.
There are a few key steps to getting it right.
You need to ensure that you don’t overdo the watering in winter, as wet grass and soil can take a long time to dry out.
If the lawn stays wet for periods of time, you’re likely to end up with fungal problems and boggy spots.
Remember as well that moisture retention varies greatly by soil type.
Sandy soil will shed water much faster than clay-based soil, which may stay damp for weeks.
Time it right
It is essential you get the frequency of your watering correct, as well as the time of day you do it.
Good practice year-round is to only water in the morning, and this becomes critical in winter, as you don’t want the lawn sitting wet overnight.
Reduce how much you water the lawn by at least half at this time of the year, in both duration and frequency, especially if it is done by an irrigation system.
You may even find a monthly watering is all that is required.
TIP Water in the morning rather than later in the day so you don’t leave damp patches overnight, avoiding fungal problems.