As the weather gets colder our garden plants enter their dormant phase where they use stored energy to survive rather than thrive. The most noticeable symptom of this phase in our gardens is the slowdown of growth in our gardens.
You will now be able to stop regular mowing of your lawn – I often leave mine unmown for the whole of December and January, since the grass hardly grows during the coldest part of the year.
It is however very important to prepare your lawn before the coldest part of the year so that come spring when our gardens and lawns burst back into life, your lawn will be looking its best.
Here are some top tips from to prepare your lawn for the winter.
- Make sure your lawn is clear from all debris and leaves, if you don’t want to use a rake, a decent leaf vacuum will make a good investment. Failure to remove debris such as dead leaves will smother your grass and also create hiding places for unwelcome guests!
- Give your lawn its last pre-winter trim – make sure to use a good lawnmower !
- If your lawn suffers from moss and or has a build-up of thatch you should scarify it. For most domestic sized lawns you can use a spring-tined lawn rake. However you can also buy (or hire) power scarifiers.
- Improve drainage and aeration. Depending on how compacted your lawn is you can use one of the following methods:
- Use a garden fork to pock holes in lightly compacted areas – wiggle it back and forth before pulling it out to increase the hole size
- Use a hollow tine aerator if your lawn is very compacted – this will remove whole plugs of earth – hand held hollow tine aerators usually don’t work on very heavy clay soil or very light sandy soil
- Use a power aerator if your lawn is really compacted and you can’t use a hand held hollow-tine aerator
- Finally, feed your lawn with a specially prepared winter fertilizer. Do not use a spring fertilizer as these contain more nitrogen which is intended to encourage spring growth – not something you want in the winter – it will weaken your grass.
Once you are done, enjoy putting your feet up for a winter rest from lawn care, and make sure to avoid walking on your lawn if there is frost on the grass.