When winter sets in, it can be easy to feel like your lawn has gone into hibernation and therefore needs no help from you until warmer weather returns. Most Australians find themselves heading inside to enjoy the cozier weather and ignoring their lawn until it’s time to spend time in the sun again.
The truth is, it’s still important to properly care for your lawn during the winter months. And, with a little effort, you’ll be rewarded with a vibrant, healthy, and thriving lawn when the spring and summer months roll back around.
So, what exactly does your lawn need from you during the winter? While it won’t need as much care as it normally does, even just a little time and effort spent on these winter lawn care tips can set you up for a healthier lawn all year long. That way, when you’re full of energy and ready to head back outside, your turf will be bright and brimming with life, too!
Tips and Tricks for Winter Lawn Care in Australia
While some of these tips might go against your traditional lawn care instincts, one of the most important parts of being a lawn owner is understanding how lawn care differs from season to season.
Water Less Frequently… Or Not At All
Though it goes against our better instincts to stop watering the lawn, your turf simply doesn’t need as much water during the winter months. For the most part, you can turn off your timers and simply water the lawn on a case by case basis.
You don’t want to overwater during the winter, as this can leave your lawn susceptible to fungi and increase your risk of compaction. Lawns are already more susceptible to compaction during the winter as more moisture sets in, so you don’t want to add to the problem.
You’ll know your lawn is in need of a little drink if the leaves begin to curl. If this happens, it’s best to give your lawn a very light water early in the morning. This will also help dispel frost and keep your lawn green. Otherwise, you can generally skip watering during the winter.
Give Your Lawn Ample Sunlight
During the summer, you might leave grass clippings, leaves, and other debris on your lawn to help provide natural mulch and nutrients. In the winter, however, keep your lawn as clear as possible to ensure it’s receiving enough sunlight and air to sustain it through the wetter winter months.
Now is your chance to get ahead of your lawn’s weed problem. Weed’s tend to crop up during the winter because your lawn won’t be growing as tightly as it does when the weather is warm. This allows weeds to work their way up through the turf.
Make sure to spray weeds during the winter so that they don’t return in the years to come. If weeds are allowed to seed, they come back more abundantly each year. The best thing you can do is work to combat them during the winter so that they don’t become a rampant problem in the spring. Spray your lawn during the winter and your grass will thank you for it when spring rolls around.
Service Your Mower
Leaving your lawn long during the winter actually allows the grass to grow better, as extra leaf means extra area for photosynthesis. This helps keep your lawn healthier and more stable during the winter and can help ward off winter weeds.
Even though your lawn won’t be growing as quickly as it does during the warmer months, it still needs nutrients to stay healthy. Late August is the perfect time to fertilise your lawn in preparation for the growth period. You can even have your soil checked to determine the exact nutrients it needs to stay healthy and purchase your fertiliser accordingly. Fertilising at the end of the winter means your lawn will be in excellent condition to begin it’s growing season in the Spring.
If you live in a particularly wet location or your lawn receives a lot of foot traffic, compaction can become a problem during the winter. Constant wear or moisture can mean the soil becomes pushed down and compacted or waterlogged, either of which runs the risk of suffocating the lawn.
Soil can become compacted by heavy foot traffic, automobiles or heavy equipment, or even by hard rains. When soil is compacted, the particles of soil are so tightly packed together that the soil can’t hold water, oxygen, and other nutrients necessary for its survival. Lawns with compacted soil are weaker, brown more easily, and can even appear visibly thinner and less lush.
If you can’t avoid compaction entirely, be sure to regularly aerate areas that suffer from compaction. This will help loosen the soil and help air get to the root zone. You can aerate by pushing a fork or aerating shoes into the soil, creating holes that allow air down to the roots. If you’ve had a dry winter, this is also a good time to moisturize your lawn and allow water to evenly distribute throughout your lawn in preparation for Spring.
Getting Ready for Spring
No matter what, Spring will eventually be right around the corner! It’s important to take the proper steps to take care of your lawn even when it seems like it’s your lawn’s “off season.” The work you put in now will have massive results when it’s time for your lawn to spring into growth again. Just because it seems dormant in the winter doesn’t mean it’s not doing its own preparation for the coming warmer season. You can easily help it on its way by following these few simple steps.