For those who don’t have synthetic grass in their yards, it’s that time of year to concentrate on protecting your natural lawn from the cold weather. There are several ways to keep your lawn happy and healthy throughout the winter, as long as you have the time and energy to put into it.
The challenge with keeping lawns green and happy during the winter months is that so many Australians seed grasses which are designed to stand up to our hot summers. This keeps the majority of yards green and lush in the warmer months. Yet, as the seasons change, these warm season grasses fall into a state of partial hibernation and delayed growth. The result? Dull, unattractive lawns with thin patches that just won’t rally. When the growing season comes around again, your lawn still may not recover. That is, not unless it’s properly taken care of through the winter.
If you’ve waited until now to begin preparing your lawn for winter, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. The real secret to a gorgeous winter lawn is to start putting extra work back in autumn. After winter arrives, the cold weather will prevent your lawn from returning to top health. Your grass has to be in good shape well before winter if you want it to flourish. A weakened lawn won’t have the chance to recover during the cold season, and may die out.
Your first treatment of winter-specific fertiliser must be applied prior to winter setting in, by May at the latest. Although the method of applying fertiliser is the same in the winter as it is in summer, the fertiliser itself must compensate for the season. Winter fertilisers contain more iron, which helps lawns retain their strength during the long season.
One treatment of fertiliser won’t be enough, however. The second application should be scheduled to follow about two months after the initial treatment. July is a good time to refresh your lawn with the much-needed nutrients which are packed into your winter fertiliser. Ideally, you should already be maintaining a regular fertilising schedule for your lawn throughout the year. If this is the case, just be sure to change fertiliser types over to a winter fertiliser and continue your normal routine.
Aerating and Acidity
Roughly two weeks before you fertilise, double check the acidity of your soil. Many fertilisers are acid, so you may have to take extra steps to return the soil closer to neutral. Dolomite lime is one solution for adjusting your pH. It should be added to your soil about two weeks before you plan to fertilise.
In addition to checking your pH, you should also make sure that all the necessary nutrients and moisture are able to get down to the roots of your lawn where they’re most needed. Winter is a good time for lawn aeration. A garden fork should be inserted approximately every 15 centimetres across the entire area of your lawn to ensure even aeration. Depending on how cold it is, you may have to put a good amount of energy into breaking the ground up enough to be effective.
Without the warm weather which encourages growth, most grasses will lose their colour and have trouble recovering from any damage. This leaves lawns particularly vulnerable during the winter months, as the grass lacks enough energy or nutrients to repair itself or stay in good health.
Making sure your grass is suited to cooler weather, changing your fertiliser, and maintaining proper pH balance and aeration are the bare minimum required for you to keep up a green, healthy-looking lawn during the winter.
Alternatively, you may consider a lower-maintenance option which will stay green with no extra effort on your part: invest in an artificial lawn. With nothing to mow, weed, fertilise or aerate, synthetic grass can bring beauty to your yard no matter the season.