Winter is just around the corner, which means it’s time to think about winter lawn care. Just as our bodies react to the cooler weather, getting bit more susceptible to colds and flu, so do those beautiful lawns we’ve spent all summer caring for. Don’t let your delicate lawn lose its lustre this winter. It is so important to care for your lawn during winter or else you risk losing all the hard work you put in during the warmer months. It is most certainly not a myth that you can have an eye-catching lawn all year round. All it takes is a little TLC! Keep it looking green and healthy with our useful tips.
If you want to keep your lawn healthy throughout winter, it is essential to prepare for the colder months as early as possible. It’s not too late to start your winter lawn care! As the days become shorter, increase mowing heights to allow your grass to absorb as many nutrients as possible in the lead up to lengthier periods without sunlight. Don’t cut your grass lower than about 2.5cm. Your lawn needs as much time to photosynthesise as possible! A common mistake is to stop mowing altogether during winter but it is important to continue to mow your lawn, perhaps at less frequent intervals, to encourage grass growth.
Pruning should be done in advance as trees and bushes will increase their shade levels in winter, causing your lawn to die in overgrown, overshaded areas. Make sure to rake up autumn leaves as soon as they begin to fall as they will also shade and kill the grass below.
Adjust watering as the temperature drops so that your lawn isn’t receiving more water than it requires. Decreasing watering also helps prevent turf diseases, fungal problems and rotting.
Aerate your lawn
Also known as ‘spiking’, winter is an excellent time to aerate your lawn to ensure the extra seasonal moisture and nutrients travel deep down into the ground. By forcefully poking a pitchfork or garden fork as far as possible into the soil, leaving holes for water and fertiliser to penetrate, you will also prevent soil compaction – an essential part of winter lawn care. Alternatively, you could hire a mechanical aerator or lawn coring machine for large areas, or buy yourself some nifty lawn aerating shoes on eBay! Better explain to the neighbours what you’re up to first. Using them can make you look a little eccentric.
Feed your lawn
When it comes to caring for your lawn, it pays off to have a plan outlining when you will fertilise, and with what fertiliser. Fertiliser is critical to successful winter lawn care. It is important to use the right type of fertiliser both for your lawn, and for the time of year. Prior to winter’s arrival, try using a high-quality winter fertiliser with increased iron, vital for lawn health. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are three of the major plant nutrients, so keep an eye out for these on fertiliser ingredients lists. There are many slow release lawn foods available which means the nutrients will continue to nourish your lawn over the extended winter period. You can also apply a seaweed tonic each month to boost your lawn’s endurance.
When fertilising your lawn, take the opportunity to ensure the soil is not too acidic, as many fertilisers can cause an imbalance in the pH level. Use a soil testing kit to complete a pH test at least every few years. You are aiming for a pH of about 6 or 7, as close to neutral as possible. You might want to add dolomite lime to your soil a couple of weeks before fertilising to reduce acidity – use about one handful per square metre. Your lawn will thank you for it!
Kill winter weeds
Your lawn will be weaker in winter, which means weeds will take their cue to invade. However, it’s much easier to pull weeds out in winter as the ground tends to be more moist. Some weeds do actually provide benefits, such as clover which redisperses nitrogen into the soil. You might also like the look of daisies or dandelions in your lawn. If you don’t, luckily these are examples of broad-leafed weeds which can be controlled by using a selective herbicide; i.e. a weedkiller that won’t damage your lawn. Look for a product with added fertiliser for the added benefit of encouraging healthy green lawn growth. Other broad-leafed weeds include bindii, capeweed, cudweed and thistles. Generally, broad-leafed weeds are more prevalent in winter as changed environmental conditions favour their survival, and your lawn’s ability to fight against them is reduced.
You may also want to be on the alert for winter grass, a highly common weed in lawns across Australia. Catching it early, preferably before it has fully emerged, will save you years of trouble as this weed creates intense, web-like root systems. If you have had winter grass in your lawn before, it is more than likely it will reappear this year, so apply a winter grass poison in May.
Don’t be defeated by weeds! Weeding can be an incredibly arduous process, and often requires multiple attempts, but your perseverance will be rewarded when summer comes around. Invite your friends around for a barbeque and show off your glistening, weed-free lawn, a great result from your winter lawn care tactics.
Know the signs
In order to maintain your lawn in winter it’s most important to recognise when your lawn is unhealthy, and in need of care. During winter, your lawn’s growth will slow dramatically. Repair from damage will also taper, and your grass will lose some of its vibrant green colour.
Caring for your lawn all year round is vital. As tempting it may be to stay rugged up inside when the weather turns cold, your lawn will suffer if it is not cared for in winter. Fortunately, there are many benefits to gardening in winter. Not only will your lawn keep looking luscious, gardening provides an opportunity to get outside and enjoy some fresh air when it’s no longer warm enough to head to the beach. Gardening is physical activity, an opportunity to stay fit and healthy during winter, even though you might rather be cosied up on the couch.
This is where The Westport Club comes in. Fuel your body for a day in the garden with a nourishing breakfast or lunch and a coffee from Hastings Coffee Co. Relax and indulge after you care for your lawn by treating yourself to a delicious dinner from Aqua’s comforting winter menu. Unwind before returning home to admire your stunning lawn with a cocktail from Jimmy’s Bar & Lounge. We are here to reward your hard work. Your lawn will thank you for it!