Now that winter is in full swing, your attention may have moved away from maintaining the garden as vigorously as you did in the summer. Taking action in the winter, you’ll save time and energy when spring arrives once again.
10 Tips Keeping Your Lawn in Top Condition During the Winter
Keep Up with Maintenance During the Autumn
Before winter really kicks in, you have a golden opportunity to give your lawn plenty of preparatory care. Continue to mow the grass regularly, water it, and add your usual treatments.
Watch out for any signs of damage or disease, and be sure to correct them as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Autumn is a crucial window that will play a big part in determining how well your lawn survives winter. Use that time wisely.
Clear Away Falling Leaves
Once autumn is underway, you’ll probably be inundated with dead leaves from nearby trees. These can quickly mulch, trap moisture, create conditions in which disease can thrive, and encourage worm activity.
Spend a small amount of time every day tidying up, and piling leaves off the grass if you can. If not, ensure that the pile is as compact as possible, and try to collect and dispose of leaves when you are able.
Remove Any Other Debris
Leaves are not the only nuisance in a winter garden. Trees and plants are shedding their summer blooms during the autumn and early winter, and it’s important to clear away any substantial debris that accumulates.
It’s best to take preventative action before autumn gets underway, by clipping back plants that are known to shed, but you can keep on top of things easily with regular winter maintenance.
Aerate the Lawn
It’s a good idea to make sure that the roots of your grass are getting enough air during the winter months. Simply take a fork or spiking machine and gently aerate the lawn, every couple of weeks.
As well as bringing air into the root system, this action prevents excessive soil compaction and improves drainage.
Your lawn should be treated with extra care during the harsh winter months. An important way to reduce the risk of damage is to curtail usage of the lawn. For example, encourage visitors to use paths rather than walking straight over the grass, and avoid parking any vehicles on the lawn – even partially.
The weight of a car will compact the grass and soil underneath it, causing damage that can be difficult to resolve. Make sure that driveways, paths, and sidewalks are clear. This helps to prevent people from gravitating towards your valued lawn!
Check for Signs of Damage, Disease, or Infestation
There are several calamities that can strike a lawn during the winter. These may include:
- Fungal disease. Signs include brown or dead patches of grass, white or yellow patches that grow in size or join together, any other blade discolouration, brittle blades, and powdery mildew.
- Cold damage. Severe frost, snow, and ice can cause physical damage to the blades and roots of your lawn.
- Mole infestation. This is usually easy to spot. You’ll see small mounds on the lawn where these little mammals are making their home.
In the case of disease or cold damage, there are steps you can take to correct it before the spring. Whether you wish to deal with moles in your lawn is a personal preference, but if you do, it’s worth speaking to a professional pest control service.
Keep it Fed and Watered
Although you won’t be outside enjoying it as much as you do during the summer, and you may have regular downpours of precipitation, you must still keep your lawn properly fed and hydrated. Use fertilizer or specialty winter lawn food regularly to maintain its health, and look for slow-release products that give the grass an extra boost.
Similarly, be sensible about watering the lawn. If it’s been exposed to a lot of rain, don’t risk the dreaded waterlog. However, if the weather has been cool and dry, keep pace with your usual watering schedule.
Check Moisture Levels
A related point. There are tools you can find at a very reasonable price to ensure that your lawn – and in particular the roots – are adequately hydrated throughout the winter. Look for a moisture meter, which can be found online, in hardware stores, or at specialty garden shops.
Some are quite expensive, costing several hundred dollars, but you don’t need to commit a lot of cash for this task! There are some perfectly fine examples at less than a hundred dollars, and they are very easy to use. Simply insert the moisture meter at the root level, check the reading, and make adjustments to your watering schedule as necessary.
Avoid Winter Mowing
You may be tempted, on a bright and relatively mild winter’s day, to get the mower out and take to the lawn. We’d advise caution. Although the conditions might seem right for a midwinter trim, this may cause unnecessary damage.
Our advice is to wait until the seasons change, but if you do feel compelled to mow the lawn, ensure that there hasn’t been a recent frost and that the grass has grown by at least a quarter since the summer.
You may be concerned about the health of your lawn over the winter months, and despite your best efforts, weather, debris, and other variables can give it a battering.
Don’t freak out! The arrival of spring naturally prompts regrowth, recovery, and renewal. The grass is a hardy plant, and by the time the warmer months roll around, you’ll see its resilience in action.
What are your top tips for keeping a healthy lawn in the winter? Let us know in the comments section!