LAWNS grow at a slower rate in winter to conserve energy. This dormancy might mean you don’t have to get the mower out as much but your lawn still needs some level of care during the colder months in preparation for its growth period in spring.
Here’s how to care for your lawn during winter…
During winter your lawn doesn’t need much water switch off any automatic timers and only water when it is needed. You will know when your lawn is thirsty because the leaves will curl. If required, give your lawn a very light watering before sunrise.
Putting extra moisture into the soil during winter will encourage compaction. When soil becomes compacted it doesn’t hold water, oxygen or other nutrients and your grass become weak, browning easily and turning thinner.
In the event of rainfall, avoid walking on your lawn afterwards and try to aerate any high traffic areas to help air get to the root zone. This will allow your lawn to breathe.
During winter, when you’re mowing less, increase your mower height to help your lawn adjust to the cooler temperatures. Your lawn will be able to absorb sunlight and nutrients better if you leave the leaf a little longer. A longer leaf will also help the lawn block out weeds better and retain colour.
Depending on your turf variety, you may only need to mow your lawn every few weeks during winter but try to avoid leaving it too long between mows. Scalping the lawn will cause it to brown.
You might notice more weeds appear in the lawn during winter. This is because the growth habit of the lawn isn’t as tight.
Weeds like bindi and clover that start springing up can be treated with a spray during winter while Winter Grass, which spreads rapidly during the cooler months, will require a specialised product or be dug out by hand to be eradicated.
You will also notice, depending on your turf variety, your grass might lose a little colour during winter. This is to be expected if you have warm-season grass and there are products you can use to help combat colour loss.
Fertilising your lawn during winter isn’t required because the slowed growth means the lawn will not take up the nutrients. Save the fertilising of your lawn for spring, as this the critical time of year to feed it with a slow-release fertiliser.