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Help Your Lawn Survive the Frosty Season!

May 29, 2019

It’s important to help your grass retain optimum health throughout Winter, so that it is well equipped to grow vigorously again come Spring.

Your lawn’s growth slows down dramatically in Winter – yes!

But, it is still important to help your grass retain optimum health throughout the ‘frosty season’, so that it is well equipped to remain healthy and grow vigorously again come Spring.

To help you out, we’ve answered some of the most common questions lawn lovers ask us about Winter lawn care!

Do I Need to Fertilise in Winter?

Honestly, there is little point in feeding your lawn during Winter. It is unlikely to take up the nutrients, as its growth has slowed right down.

So, fertilising your lawn in Winter is not generally recommended – especially if you have already given it a good feed in Autumn.

How Often Should I Water in Winter?

Not too often! Over Winter, you shouldn’t need to water your lawn too much, if at all.

In Winter, your lawn will receive less sunlight, experience cooler days – as well as frost and rain. So, you don’t want to put excess moisture into the soil if you can avoid it, as this will only encourage compaction.

You can keep an eye on the moisture levels by feeling deep into the thatch. If it feels moist, don’t water.

Winter Watering Tip!

When watering in Winter, only give your lawn a very light watering just before the sun comes up in the morning (or first thing in the morning), to remove frost from the leaf.

If you water in the afternoon before a cold night, the water may freeze, causing damage such as rotting, which can happen when grass stays wet for too long.

Should I Keep Leaves Off My Lawn in Winter?

During Winter, your lawn needs as much sunlight as possible to help it survive.

Leaves and lawn clippings left on your lawn in Winter will often lead to fungal diseases, and could even lead to killing off areas of grass, by starving it of air and sunlight. Eek!

So, it is important that dropped leaves and grass clippings on your lawn are kept to an absolute minimum during Winter!

We recommend lightly dragging a rake over your grass, weekly. Collect the leaves or debris that have been covering your lawn, and dispose of them in your green bin.

Grass Clippings Tip!

Switch to ‘catching’ rather than ‘dropping’ your clippings when mowing in Winter!

Do I Need to Aerate in Winter?

Yes, it’s a great idea to aerate at least once during Winter!

If your lawn got a big workout with increased foot traffic over Summer, then there’s a good chance that your soil has been heavily compacted, and is now restricting the movement of water and oxygen throughout your lawn.

Aerating will loosen the compacted soil, helping air to get into the root zone – allowing your lawn to breathe and avoid suffocation over Winter.

You can hire an aerator from your local hardware store or machine hire shop. Your lawn will thank you for it!

Aerating Tip!

During Winter, it’s also a good idea to aerate your lawn after long periods of heavy rain, particularly if water tends to pool or the soil gets a bit waterlogged.

Should I Be Worried About Weeds in Winter?

Most weeds are dormant over Winter, but there are a few to watch for!

In Winter, it is still not too late (and a good idea to) treat Bindii, as this treatment should also deal with other common broadleaf Winter weeds, such as thistles and oxalis (clovers).

It is important to make sure you spray common weeds during Winter, particularly Bindii, because if they’re allowed to seed, they will return again even more of a problem in the warmer months!

Broadleaf weeds, Bindii and Clover can be controlled using Bin-Die Selective Weeder or Lawn Solutions Australia All Purpose Weed Control.

Weed insect resistance zoysia buffalo turf

Winter Weed Tip!

The most conspicuous weed to rear its ugly head in Winter is… you guessed it, Winter Grass! Winter Grass will stand out as lush, bright green ‘clumps’ amongst your lawn.

The good news is, Winter Grass can be removed very easily by hand, as it doesn’t have particularly deep roots or any runners, and grows in simple ‘clumps’. Just dispose of them in your green waste bin.

However, removing Winter Grass by hand can be somewhat tedious! So, fortunately there are specifically targeted herbicide controls you can use.

Targeting it with a pre-emergent like Oxafert before it emerges during May, is the key to preventing it from germinating and going to seed.

Once it goes to seed, Winter Grass will likely be present again in your turf the following year, and the cycle will continue. So, using a combination of a pre-emergent like Oxafert and a selective control like Winter Grass Killer, at the correct time of year should ensure it is eradicated from your lawn.

Should I Mow Higher or Lower in Winter?

During Winter, you are best off to treat your lawn to a higher mow.

During the cooler months, your grass grows a lot more slowly. So, putting your mower blades up a notch or two allows for better photosynthesis and food supply for your lawn – helping to stay healthy and hold out those pesky Winter weeds.

The big risk of mowing too low in Winter is ‘scalping’ your lawn, which browns it.

Remember, your lawn is likely dormant during this time, so it needs to be treated with care! If you scalp your lawn repeatedly, you risk weakening it and allowing more weeds and diseases to take hold.

As a general mowing rule during Winter, it’s wise not to cut your grass lower than 2.5cm, and also to only mow it around once every three or four weeks.

Winter Mowing Tip!

Lower the height of your mower by a notch or two the last couple of times you mow.

On the flip side of not mowing too low – excessively long grass can smother itself in Winter, which can cause disease and put it at risk of damage from freezing and thawing conditions.

Service Your Mower in Winter!

During Winter, your mower will get to take a bit of a break, as you are be best to leave a little extra length on the leaf, especially in shaded areas.

So, Winter is a great time of year to treat your trusty mower to a bit of all important maintenance!

You can clean the mower deck, check/replace the oil, and/or sharpen the blades – ready for Spring time dethatching.

Winter is the Perfect Time to ColourGuard it!

ColourGuard Winter Lawn Pigment Colour

Finally, just remember that if your grass is a ‘warm season’ variety, you should expect some loss of colour during the cooler months.  

The degree of your lawn’s colour loss in Winter will vary according to the variety, and your climate.  

Excessive frost tends to cause the leaves to brown, whilst areas that are heavily exposed to the elements will generally lose more colour than areas which are protected by fencing,  gardens etc.

So, if your lawn loses a bit of it’s vibrant colour over Winter, try using a natural lawn pigment like Lawn Solutions Australia’s ColourGuard to help bring it back to life!

Not just a lawn ‘paint’, ColourGuard is an organic pigment that is naturally absorbed by the grass leaf blade. It is super easy to apply, and can give your lawn up to 3 months of natural green colour!
ColourGuard is also 100% eco-friendly and non-toxic (no harmful chemicals), making it completely safe for the environment, pets and people! Win-win!

Optimum Lawn Health Winter Lawn Care

So, if you stick to these general rules and tips, a little of the right kind of maintenance will help your lawn look and perform at its absolute best over our frosty Australian Winters and beyond!

For more expert Winter lawn care advice, give our friendly team here at Cobbitty Lawn Turf a call today on (02) 4651 0000!