Considering undertaking any winter lawn care tasks can seem pointless during the winter months. Many families rarely see sun during the cold months of the year. Leaving for work or school before sunrise, and then returning after sunset.
There are many problems which poor lawn grass can suffer from during the winter. Ignoring these too long can mean your lawn becomes damaged come spring.
Winter lawn care tips
Here are some easy winter lawn care checks to make sure your grass makes it through to spring unscathed.
1. Keep the leaves off
Through November and December leaves will fall from deciduous trees and gather on lawns. If it is windy these leaves can also gather in corners and in hollows. If left, these will shade out the grass and over time can kill areas of the lawn completely.
Once the leaves have fallen, clear them from the grass. You can do this either with a rake, mower or a blower. If you want to remove them you can bag them up to make leaf mould or put them in your green waste bin. Just move them to areas of bare soil to act as a winter mulch. Here they will make homes for overwintering insects, rot down to improve the soil and keep the frost of the crowns of tender plants.
2. Keep off wet soil
The winter months in the England can be damp. Lawns on a heavy soil can be waterlogged for months. To maintain the integrity of the soil it is important to keep foot traffic to a minimum if the soil is wet.
Stepping on wet soil forces the air out. When dry, a soil without air pockets becomes compacted and dries like concrete, preventing roots from growing into the ground. Grass on a compacted soil with wither and thin. A compacted lawn will need to be aerated to recover which can be expensive and the soil may take months to recover.
Prevention is better than a cure. Stay of the lawn is it is wet, and the grass will thrive again in the summer.
3. Control the moss
Moss loves the winter. Mosses thrive in damp, shady conditions and winter months in the North if England are damp and dark. If your lawn struggles with moss at all, it may take over completely during the winter.
Put down a moss control treatment in early winter to keep it at bay. If the moss is bad, it may need retreating in early spring before a light spring scarification. Moss control should always be part of your winter lawn care regime. Again, prevention is better than cure!
4. If it does grow, give it a mow.
Some periods of the winter months in the UK can be mild. The growth of grass depends on the temperature. You will find your lawn will grow if the weather is mild.
Don’t be afraid to run a mower over the lawn during the winter if you feel it is starting to look untidy. Make sure the grass is dry and adjust the mower blades as high as they go. Mowing during the winter will also help to keep debris off the grass, helping it to see as much sunlight as possible.
5. Watch out for fungal infections
Fusarium patch disease is a fungal infection which effects grass during the coolers months. Grass is often weak in December, January and February, with essential nutrients washed out of the soil. This makes it vulnerable and, if the environmental conditions are correct, a fusarium infection can break out. Red thread has also been seen in the middle of winter.
Checking your lawn for signs of infections should be part of your winter lawn care regime. Just keep an eye on it. If you find any white mouldy patches or circular rings, contact your local lawn care technician and they will be able to diagnose. If caught early, it may not need a fungicide treatment, just some correct nutrient re-balancing may help the grass to recover on its own.
6. Be careful in frost and snow
There are often frosty mornings in the winter. Some days this frost can last on the lawn all day. If you walk on the lawn in the frost, the leaves of the grass can break, damaging the plant. This damage shows as brown patches over the next few weeks. Be sure to keep off the grass during a hard frost.
Snow is not a problem for grass. There is no need to clear the snow off your lawn, it will be nice and snug underneath! Snow mould can develop with a covering of snow, so keep and eye out as it thaws.
If you build a snowman, it will take a while to thaw, but this should not harm the grass in the long run.
Professional winter lawn care
If you live in the Exeter area and would like advice on your winter lawn care regime, please get in touch.