For most of us, winter is not the ideal time to show off your outdoor area. The colder months can drain the life from your lawn, leaving it a listless shadow of its normally lustrous summer self.
But for the informed homeowner, there are ways to limit the decline of your lawn during winter to having it still looking healthy and full of life. Synonymous with lawn maintenance in Australia, mower and lawncare equipment icon Victa has some hot tips to keep your grass greener in winter.
Leaves and grass clippings: During autumn and winter your lawn needs as much sunlight as possible. Make sure that leaves dropped from deciduous trees and lawn clippings are kept to an absolute minimum. Leaves and lawn clippings left on your lawn will often lead to killing off areas of grass by starving it of air and sunlight.
Mower cutting heights: During the cooler months, grass grows much slower, so it’s a good idea to raise your cutting height a little so as not to damage it. As a general rule, it’s wise not to cut your grass lower than 2.5cm. The big risk of mowing low is ‘scalping’ which browns your grass. Scalp your lawn repeatedly and you risk weakening it, allowing more weeds and diseases to take hold.
How often to mow: In winter lawn growth will decrease substantially. As a guide, your lawn should only need to be mowed around once every three or four weeks. Growing rates can vary between different grass types such as Couch and Kikuyu, but we recommend that your lawn height doesn’t exceed 5-6cm as your lawn may become “stalky” and far less pleasing on the eye.
Aerate of extra O2: If your lawn has had a big workout over summer with increased temperatures and loads of foot traffic, there’s a good chance that the soil has been heavily compacted and is restricting the movement of water and oxygen throughout your lawn. Hire an aerator from your local hardware or machinery hire centre and give your lawn the once over for some much needed breathe room.
Sowing seeds: If your lawn is a bit patchy and lacking in some areas, the colder months are the perfect time for seed germination without weeds impeding. Aeration will also help with the germination process.
Feed up for winter: Just because your lawn’s productivity decreases over winter doesn’t mean that your lawn loses its hunger for nutrients. Try to seek out a fertiliser which supplies the correct balance of the three major nutrients required for a healthy lawn with uniform growth. A good mix of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is ideal. Speak to your local nursery about which fertilisers are best suited to your lawn type and soil composition.
A good last soak: Before the harsh effects of winter kick in, it is a good idea to give your lawn one good last drink. This will also help to activate lawn fertilisers.