How to Best Care for Your Lawn in Winter

Winter grass maintenance

Lawn care and maintenance may be the last thing on your mind this winter, but doing some work now will definitely pay off once the temperatures start rising again in Australia.

On the bright side, providing your lawn with care in the winter is less time-consuming in comparison to other seasons, so don’t skip on the opportunity to secure the neat and healthy look of your outdoor areas during the colder months.   

We’ll go with you through the steps and give you a few tips just to make sure that you are ready to provide the right winter lawn care.   


General care for the lawn in winter


Winter may not be as active as the warmer seasons, but this doesn’t mean that your lawn is fully protected from foot traffic and compaction or the effect of its surroundings. The latter refers to trees still shedding leaves, broken branches and debris falling on your turf that could lead to mould formation or just make your outdoor space look neglected.

Therefore, it is a good idea to keep an eye on your yard and do a clean up when necessary, especially during the transitioning period from autumn to winter.

In addition to giving your winter lawn a great look, this will also help keep the turf fully exposed to the much-needed sunlight when it’s colder outside.


Reduce mowing and watering


Lawn care in winter may seem like bliss when it comes to grass mowing, but don’t be in a rush to put the lawnmower away just yet. The grass may not grow as fast, but it still needs to be cut now and then or, in other words, some mowing of the lawn in winter will be required.

The good news is that you won’t need to do it more than once per every two or three weeks, depending on the grass type and weather conditions.

Consider cutting the grass higher than usual, preferably no lower than 2.5 – 3.0 cm. This will help you keep the grass looking green in the winter by strengthening the blades. In addition, your lawn will be more resistant to diseases and possible browning, which is often seen with Zoysia grass.

Speaking of diseases, remember to limit the watering to a minimum during the cooler months. Don’t take chances, but inspect your lawn regularly and water when the turf looks dry. Early in the morning will suit best, as the moisture will remain in the turf throughout the day.

Keep in mind that some types of grass don’t even need watering in winter, such as Sir Walter Buffalo Grass and Kikuyu grass.

Tackle winter grass and other weeds


No one likes to weed, but winter might prove to be the most favourable time to do it. The rain keeps the turf moist, which makes pulling weeds out a lot easier. Pay most attention to the corners of the lawn and be on the lookout for one of the most common invaders – the winter grass.

It usually starts growing in late autumn and the beginning of winter, and it will continue to spread unless removed. Therefore, do not forget to include weeding in the winter lawn care task list.

Winter grass is usually easy to remove by hand since it grows in tufts that come out whole when plucked. If the problem is persistent, then look for a winter grass weed-killing product or directly get a specialist to help.

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Aerate against compaction


This is an important task that can significantly improve your lawn’s condition in the winter. On one hand, it will help you fight soil compaction, which is quite common during the cooler season when rain frequency increases in some parts.

On the other, aeration will provide the grass with easy access to the nutrients it needs to thrive and stay green in winter.

The process is quite simple, too:

  • Take a garden fork or rely on other tools like a spike aerator, for instance, to aerate the entire lawn.
  • Push the fork in, as it’s important for the tool to deeply penetrate the ground.
  • The procedure will be effective if the fork goes as deep as 10-15 cm.
  • Repeat until the whole lawn is covered.

Apply winter lawn fertiliser for grass boost


Fertilising will help your lawn stay healthy during winter and give it the extra boost it needs to be strong and green once spring arrives.

The most suitable time to do it is late autumn or early winter. A lot of lawn owners prefer to fertilise the grass in autumn when they are preparing the lawn for the upcoming cooler weather.

If you need to do it, then always use quality fertilisers. The label contains important instructions on how to apply it and other valuable information, too. The label shows the level of nitrogen, as well as whether it has a slow-releasing formula.

Choose the latter because it will reduce the frequency of application, which means you will have less lawn maintenance work on your hands.


Can you overseed the lawn in winter?


Also known as dormant seeding, planting seeds on top of already existing grass for healthier lawn is normally done just before or during winter. However, there are things that you need to carefully consider, especially if you live in Melbourne or the surrounding areas. The main being the Australian climate specifics. The second – the type of seeds you intend to use.

A lot of seeds won’t stay dormant for long and will start to germinate if the temperatures are not low enough. Since most of Australia enjoys a milder winter, overseeding may prove challenging. This is a tricky task to do on your own, too, so you can safely leave it in the hands of experienced professionals.


Takeaways


  • Remember to include clearing up the turf surface in your monthly winter lawn care checklist.
  • Since you will be mowing only once or twice a month this winter, consider taking care of your lawnmower by servicing it and doing any necessary repairs.
  • Some weeds can thrive even if it’s colder outside, so keep an eye on those.
  • Fertilise and aerate your lawn properly and you can expect a lush green grass with the arrival of spring. 

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