Winter may not be prime garden season, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to enjoy the lush green of our gardens; even if it is only visually. But the cold months are harsh for anything living outside, and plants are no exception, particularly grass. If left to its own devices, grass will usually slow its growth to a crawl and often die off in patches, depending on the conditions. There are however steps that can be taken to not only make winter a bit less punishing for your lawn, but also to help ensure that it has the best chance of remaining lush and green until the spring rolls around.
Bracing for the cold
There are two key parts involved in keeping a lawn green throughout winter and the first of these is preparation. Winter is going to come, no matter how inconvenient it may be, so getting everything ready beforehand is essential as it isn’t normally the cold that will cause a lot of damage to your grass. Keeping a constant vigil and making sure any leaves and other rubbish is removed from the grass is very important to lawn care; the grass will be in a weakened state during winter and having its source of the already limited sunlight obscured by something could well finish it off. The same is true of weeds; making sure that they are dealt with and removed sooner rather than later will ensure that the grass has the best chance at absorbing the available nutrients in the soil.
Keeping the lawn clean and tidy is probably nothing new for an avid gardener and most likely happens all year round, not simply in preparation for winter. However, once the summer months start to wane and the autumnal air begins to blow then that is the time to cut the grass a little taller than usual. About half as tall again as you would normally cut it should suffice, whilst also strengthening the roots, this cut gives the grass more to work with throughout winter. With the lawn cut nicely, attention should turn to seeding. The autumn months are often overlooked in favour of spring when it comes to seeding, but actually conditions are fantastic at this time of year as well. Grass, like most plants, will diminish in size slightly during winter as it tries to conserve resources; this is the perfect opportunity to add more seeds to the lawn. In fact overseeding is recommended as it gives the lawn the best chance of filling out with freshly germinated grass and will keep it looking healthy and lush.
The long dark nights
Here at A View Turf, once winter does set in we prefer a cup of hot chocolate and a warm fire; but by preparing your lawn appropriately the grass will be in good shape and as ready for the cold as it can be. With the time for preparation having passed, attention should now turn to maintenance. Fertilising the lawn at the start of winter will give it a boost of nutrients and watering it should become almost a non-issue. However the most damaging things for a lawn are still all about the coverage. This means that you need to keep the grass as clear as possible, removing items such as lawn furniture and cleaning up any debris that may blow onto it promptly. You should also minimise traffic across the grass as well, given that the grass is already struggling to stay green, trampling it is not going to help in the slightest as it will not spring back as easily as in summer months.
Waiting for the thaw
Winter will run its course; if you can keep your lawn clear as well as having overseeded and fertilised it beforehand, you should stand a very good chance of keeping it a lovely looking green colour throughout. Try to only mow the lawn if it absolutely needs it, and never after rain as this will cause harm to the plant as well as destabilising the roots if the soil is wet and loose. If you are concerned about your lawn or the type of grass you have not being hardy enough for winter then you should seek out professional advice as there is always something that can be done to improve its chances. Afterall, that image of a lush, green lawn is worth the effort; no matter how cold it gets.