As the weather begins to cool down, you may wonder how to keep your lawn looking beautiful. We are here to help, with the 5 top lawn care tips for winter!
Warm season grass such as Couch, Kikuyu and Buffalo will start going into dormancy and that means changing the way you care for your lawn. The focus goes from having the healthiest lawn possible to keeping on top of issues that can rob a dormant lawn of its health and give your lawn the best start to spring.
Hopefully you have entered winter with your lawn in great condition. If not, never fear, while you have a bit more work ahead of you, these tips are just as applicable to you as the lawnie with the best lawn on the street!
The reason we let the growing height go up is because there is less sunlight during autumn and winter so we want more leaf blade area grabbing more of that scarce sunlight to maximise plant health. The added benefit of that is that the higher cut height will rob sunlight getting to weeds ultimately inhibiting their ability to grow.
Since you’re likely to mow less during this time, grow it a bit taller and use your extra time to pay attention to other things, family and life. Use the downtime to also pay special attention to your equipment maintenance so that it’s ready for the next growing season.
Soil management is always crucial no matter what season. Autumn and winter is not the time to be putting down topdress but there are other things you can do. At the very least, you can pitchfork aerate in hard areas and chuck a bit of gypsum down but remember, if you have bare areas, you'll have to keep on top of weed germination.
If you’re suffering from hydrophobic soil, you can get a soil wetter treatment down. You'll notice that you have 'pooling' if you have a hydrophobic soil. This typically happens in hotter climates where organic leaf decaying forms a waxy surface on the soil’s surface ultimately preventing water from permeating the soil.
Good soil wetters such as, Moist, by Lawnporn, assist in getting the water past the waxy areas and holding the moisture at the roots.
At the very least, fertilise at least once during the season. Lawns need food. The train of thought is that fertilising in winter, when the lawn in dormant, will store in the root system to give it the best start to spring.
Launch+ is a great winter fertiliser while you still have a bit of growth going before dormancy with phosphorous and kelp to assist the roots and nitrogen for that upper plant green. Things that do grow in winter (broadleaf weeds, wintergrass etc.) can rob your lawn of the essential nutrients. You won’t notice the results right away because it’s not growing but you’ll certainly give it the best start for the new season.
Autumn and winter for me is “fight the bad guys” time. The lawn is going dormant and I don't want to have weeds, pest or disease taking anything away from the sleeping lawn. When the lawn wakes up, I don't want it having to compete for the goodies.
and other problem grasses are best treated with a pre-emergent herbicide. So, it is crucial that it’s applied between late February to early May before the seeds in the ground germinate. Don’t leave it too late!
will grow when your lawn has stopped growing. They take important nutrients away from the lawn so be sure to get rid of them. Use a selective herbicide suitable for your grass type. The general tip is get to weeds as soon as they show!
I’m only speaking generally here. Black beetle is a common pest but there are a bunch of other that you need to look out for. Find a treatment and apply even if you think that you don't have an issue. Beetles smash your roots and kills your lawn. Most treatments do ok, be it granular or hose on, and will generally give you 6-8 weeks of protection.
Fungal issues are sometimes hard to identify but if you have brown patches suddenly appearing on your lawn, you may have a fungal issue. The best solution is prevention. Fungal issues arise in certain conditions; that is a bit of organic matter decaying & somewhere dark, warm and moist, in the very general sense so just be cautious and don’t let water sit overnight.
In a general sense, soil accepts about an inch to an inch and a half of water. How do you tell? The easiest way is to get an empty tuna can and run some water over it in a natural ‘watering’ motion and see how long it takes to fill up.
Clay soils will hold that water longer however it is harder to get that water in. Sandy soils will be easier to get that water in but will hold that water for a shorter time. Loam soils are somewhere in between.
In cooler times watering once every 7 - 10 days, deeply in the morning - about an inch to an inch and a half of water, is all that is required.
No matter what the season, always remember to adjust for rain.
A quick 5 min water in the morning can lessen frost damage.
Try to limit the traffic. Lawns won't repair in dormancy.
Do a lower mow just before Spring for that extra warmth that’ll get your lawn up and running again.