Winter lawn

Bring your lawn back to good health before it gets too cold!

A few key things attended to now can improve your lawn’s appearance through winter

Don’t attempt too many drastic actions – scarifying or topdressing at this time of the year.

A last fertilise for the season and even a pigment treatment like ColourGuard can work wonders. During cooler seasons, lawns will generally be at their most vulnerable and unable to repair or maintain good health as well as they can in warmer seasons. Most Australian lawns are what are known as warm-season grasses. Kikuyu, Couch, Zoysia and Soft Leaf Buffalo lawns are the most common types and fit into this category.

As the name ‘warm-season’ suggests; that’s the time when these grasses are actively growing. During the cooler months they slow down and can go dormant; shutting down and discolouring over winter. This is a protection method lawn grasses use to withstand freezing temperatures and frost with the grass leaves thinning and drying out. The plant’s energy is stored in the lower parts of the grass stem and root areas.

As the weather cool down, so does lawn care with grass not growing as vigorously as it was. As daylight hours decrease so does photosynthesis. By increasing mower heights and leaving more leaf, it helps to increase the food supply to the grass. Pruning is a great way to plan ahead for winter conditions. Overgrown trees and bushes may increase their shade levels. By the time we notice our lawn has started dying, it can be too late to repair the damage.

Fertilise

Use this period as an opportunity to fertilise your lawn. Go for an all-round or pre-winter fertiliser that contains higher levels of iron. Iron is essential for good lawn health throughout these cooler conditions and gives a quick colour boost to your lawn. It is important to address any weed issues before winter. In winter the conditions for their survival improve, while at the same time the lawn’s ability to fight them decreases. Winter weeds, such as poa (wintergrass), could potentially inhabit your lawn.

Weed control

Treating weeds before they spread is the best thing to do. While not common practice in Australia, it’s a good idea to try a pre-emergent like Lawn Solutions Australia’s Oxafert pre-emergent herbicide / fertiliser. This gives a pre-winter boost and helps prevent germination of any winter weeds.

Repairs

Patching up any bare or dry spots will help prevent issues during the cooler months. It will also keep your lawn looking good. Square-up any areas with a mattock or spade and fit new turf sections straight onto your lawn.

Aerate

As air and soil temperatures decrease, over-watering can increase the possibility of lawn diseases or rotting of the thatch layer. Aerating your lawn during autumn is considered a good time to do so as the plants are busy enhancing their root zones in preparation for winter. Also, the soil is usually a bit softer than at the height of summer. Use a garden fork and work to break up the soil or hire an aerator that will make quick work of the job. You’ll be amazed at the results. Just check out any golf course and see how often they are aerating or coring to get more airspace into the soil profile.

Mowing

Getting the mowing height right is probably one of the most important things now. It’s a good idea with the next few mows to increase the height and then you can gradually lower it over winter. Not taking much leaf but more of a tidy-up. You’ll see this on many footy fields around the country. Most sports-turf curators start to lift the mower-height at this time of the year. This gives them a more healthy and robust cushion of turf in readiness for damaging winter sports.

ColourGuard

Another tip from the experts is to look at a colourant at this time of year as well as fertiliser. A natural, organic-based-colourant like Colourguard will give you an instant green-up that offers a natural-looking colour. ColourGuard will also extend your lawn’s growing period by a few weeks as it increases its light-absorption ability heading into winter. Lawn care doesn’t need to be difficult. Simple hints can help with products to keep your lawn in top condition this autumn.

Related articles

Aerating 

Wintergrass 

Oxafert

One Third Rule

For information on caring for your lawn visit our Lawn Care Page.

 

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