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Taking care of your lawn during the winter

Date posted: 3 October 2013

The winter can take its toll on your lawn, particularly during prolonged periods of wet weather or cold snaps, so it's vital that you take good care of it so that it stays in the best shape possible in preparation for spring.

There are several things you can do to help save your lawn from deteriorating badly over the winter. Here are our top tips for winter lawn care.

Rest your lawn

Try to give your lawn a break from too much wear and tear over the winter. The grass plants are not actively growing during this time, so they can not repair themselves if they are damaged until the spring. Avoid walking and running on your lawn as much as possible, particularly during wet or frosty weather.

Keep your lawn clear

Remove any fallen leaves and other debris from the surface of the lawn as frequently as possible throughout the Autumn and Winter so that the grass continues to get plenty of light and air. For smaller lawns you probably won't need to hire a leaf blower or lawn vacuum, since it's best to avoid heavier machines during the winter; instead, you can simply use a light rake or a brush to clear your lawn.

Weed out any unwanted intruders

If you spot any larger weeds growing in your lawn, take them out with their roots, and keep smaller weeds and moss under control so they do not seed and spread into large areas of the lawn. For larger lawns, you could hire a petrol or electric lawn scarifier, which offers a quick and easy way of removing matted grass, moss and weeds without damaging the lawn. You can also hire back pack sprayer equipment from garden tool hire companies for a convenient and practical means of spraying fertiliser, weed killer or other liquids from a pressurised container.

Aerate your lawn

Aerate your lawn with a fork or a lawn aerator, which you can rent from garden tool hire centres. This will improve drainage, relieve compaction and enable more air to reach the lawn's root system.

Mow only when necessary

Only mow the lawn if you need to after a growth spurt, for example after a warmer spell. Check the weather forecast and avoid mowing if heavy frosts are expected or if the ground is very wet.

Don't feed your lawn until springtime

You do not need to feed your lawn over the winter. Fertiliser will prompt premature grass growth that cannot stand up to harsher weather conditions, potentially killing your lawn.  Wait until the spring and then feed your lawn to give it a boost just as it is experiencing bursts of growth.

Take extra care of new lawns

Newly sown or turfed areas of lawn may need extra care. Heavy frosts sometimes lift the turf, which will then need levelling out with a heavy roller. If you are planning to sow a new lawn in the near future, use the winter as preparation time. Dig over the area, leaving the soil in clumps on the surface for the frost to break it up, then lay your new lawn when warmer weather arrives in the Spring.


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