Caring for your lawns in winter
There is little argument from me that in general, lawn grasses don’t grow too much over the cooler months. But that doesn’t mean they can be totally ignored for the next six months. In fact, you can do so at your own peril. As the lawns go dormant, the “leaves” fall off just like with most plants.
This dead plant matter, if left alone can cause actual damage to your lawn. Whereas small amounts of finely mulched clippings can be beneficial for a healthy lawn, dry dead grass can be quite harmful. It can actually smother the lawn preventing airflow and restricting the amount of water that is allowed to soak into the soil. It can also cause fungus and other inhibiting lawn diseases, and can contribute to excessive thatch build up. A heavily thatched or spongy lawn is a sign that the lawn is not doing so well and is actually quite distressed.
A great, cost effective way to prevent some of these problems is to keep up your regular lawn mowing over the winter months. Obviously you won’t need to do it every week or two. But I strongly recommend mowing your lawns every three to four weeks during winter to give your lawns the best chance of thriving in spring and summer.
Another issue that you need to keep on top of is WEEDS! As the grass “dies off”, the weeds see this as a great opportunity to take control of the lawn. In St Clair dandelion and clover in particular, proliferate at various times throughout the year.
They can be controlled to some extent by spraying selective herbicides at regular intervals. However, In my opinion the most effective method of control is to mow the lawns regularly at a level just low enough to remove the flower heads.
For dandelions you can even control them quite well by pulling them out as soon as you see a single flower. I’m not totally against herbicides. But if you can control weeds in your lawn without them, it’s worth the effort.
One area of the lawns that commonly get neglected over winter are the edges. PLEASE don’t let your edges get out of control. Once they start growing over footpaths and driveways they can be a nightmare to get back under control. And it will cost you more money to do so. Sometimes it pays to give the edges a tidy up even if they lawns don’t need mowing.
Finally with many trees dropping their leaves during autumn and winter it’s really important that they are not left on the lawns. Decomposing leaf matter can cause fungus and disease and should be removed often. They can be picked up with regular mowing. However a more effective solution is a good old fashioned rake. Raking the leaves with a good quality rake can also help remove some of the dead grass mentioned earlier.
One more thing to keep in mind is that winter, along with being very cold, is quite often very dry. If we do have a particularly dry winter it’s important to make sure the soil does not dry out completely. Don’t over do it. But give your lawns a good deep watering every two or three weeks if we don’t get any significant rain.
Finally your lawn can really benefit from the application of a good slow release fertiliser to keep it going over winter. Apply mid to late May and water it in well. Your lawn will really appreciate it.
So in summing up, by following these few simple steps you can keep your lawn looking great all year round. And don’t forget that Jason at Fair Dinkum Lawn & Garden Care provides Premium Quality lawn mowing services all year round!