Find out how to avoid about the 3 main threats to winter lawn health as you think about preparing your lawn for winter.
There are 3 main threats to lawn health in winter and none of them are frost-related. Lawn turf is remarkably frost hardy. However, inefficient drainage, reduced air-flow and poor plant nutrition can lead to diseases and weed infestations.
Preparing your lawn for winter means addressing all of those problems as well as keeping things tidy. These are the most essential tasks
- Remove fallen leaves, furniture and toys
- Trim hedges, trees and borders to improve air flow and reduce summer shade
- Feed the lawn
- Tidy edges
- Mow when necessary
- Apply ferrous sulphate to control moss
- Book aeration services for spring
Damp lawns develop problems
Every living thing needs water, but perpetual damp can cause problems for a lawn. Common lawn diseases such as fusarium patch disease thrive in damp conditions. Which is what you need to think about when preparing your lawn for winter.
Fusarium patch disease thrives on damp lawns and can leave ugly scars. Improve ventilation and if you’re really keen you can brush the dew off your lawn every morning.
Once November arrives, it’s usually too late to aerate your lawn to improve drainage. You can however combat damp by improving airflow.
Start by removing any debris from the surface of the lawn. That’s fallen leaves, garden furniture, toys, tools and barbeques. Every single blade of grass needs to be able to see daylight and feel the breeze.
Next look to the areas around the lawn and see if you can improve air-flow there. By cutting back tall plants and trees you are not only allowing air to move freely, you are reducing shady spots that could impede grass growth next year. Ask for professional help to prune tall trees. BALI have a list of landscapers who can help you.
If you think the soil beneath your lawn is compacted and hard to drain, plan to aerate the lawn next spring.
Lawn feeding and weed control
Weeds will not normally respond to chemical treatments in winter so please don’t waste your time or money applying any. However, the lawn lover’s arch nemesis – moss – reproduces in the cold and damp of winter. So you can take steps to stop it invading your lawn.
Moss in the lawn – restricts grass growth and makes the surface feel spongy underfoot. It’s rarely a welcome sight for the lawn lover.
Apply Ferrous Sulphate (NOT feed n weed with mosskiller). This will help kill moss spores before they can grow into plants. It will also give your lawn a beautiful deep green colour.
With the moss under control, you need to make sure that the grass plants are robust enough to repel diseases and prepare for spring.
Winter lawn feed helps roots and leaves toughen up to resist frost and disease. At this time of year the grass blades won’t grow fast but they do still need nutrients to keep their cells healthy.
The Turfonline team have developed a cost-effective winter lawn feed that contains exactly the right balance of nutrients for cool weather and short days.
Regular lawn maintenance for winter
Honestly, once your lawn has been prepared for winter, there’s not much to do until the soil warms up in spring. However you could still:-
- Mow your lawn during the winter if it needs it.
- Keep off the grass when it’s frozen
- Keep an eye out for the first signs of disease
- Service the lawnmower
- Lay new turf – provided the ground is not frozen
Other winter lawn care articles from the Turfonline Team