During winter, many lawns appear particularly thin and weak, if yours is prone to suffering from cold conditions there are a few possible explanations worth considering before deciding upon the appropriate course of action to get your lawn looking its best again as it wakes up to the spring and summer months.
Cold, ice, snow and ground frost can have a huge impact on the general health of your lawn in the run up to winter, a time when it is easy to become negligent towards lawn care. As the rich autumnal trees transform to bare branches, the colder air rolls in and the nights become darker, the temptation to stay warm indoors and overlook our lawns is strong. However, lawn care at the beginning of and throughout the winter months is just as important as it is during the rest of the year.
At Greensleeves, we believe your lawn deserves care and attention all year round, even if you do not have the time or inclination to do so on your own. That’s where Greensleeves can help, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to winter lawn care to provide you with the tips, tools and advice to ensure your lawn stays lush under harsh weather conditions.
Winter Weather Tips
From continuous rain to that early morning frost, for even the most dedicated of gardeners, the desire to sit inside by the fire can prove infinitely more appealing than standing out in the cold tending to the lawn. But just because the depth of winter has descended, doesn’t mean we should be neglecting our gardens, in fact, they require extra protection from the elements in order to survive.
A summer spent pruning, weeding and generally making your garden the best it can be can easily fall apart come September if we do not take the correct steps to prevent such calamities. It’s essential to keep our gardens ticking over in the winter months so don’t neglect your garden this winter – here are our top tips explaining how to ensure your plants survive the big freeze.
Grass growth slows and becomes increasingly dormant during winter, but its growth certainly doesn’t stop completely, and neither should mowing your lawn! The trick is to continue mowing your lawn as needed, never allowing it to become too long as this can significantly reduce the quality and potentially increase the severity of moss invasion.
It is important that you ensure the mower blades are sharp, so as not to cause damage to the lawn itself. Never attempt to mow your lawn if it is saturated or covered in frost, taking extra care to remove excess leaves and debris by raking, this helps to prevent environments which may encourage fungal diseases.
Moss and Mould
The two most common issues UK lawns face during the winter months are moss and snow mould infestations. Moss is a common issue that the majority of people will recognise should it invade their lawns. Snow mould however is a little less notorious yet just as troublesome to deal with.
Moss is a non-flowering plant that for many is the worst of all lawn blights, it can thrive in a range of conditions such as; compacted soil, poor drainage, excessive shade, weak, hungry and overgrown grass. To successfully remove a moss invasion, Greensleeves advises targeting the moss using a specially formulated treatment designed to desiccate the thatch and prevent it from developing further.
Snow mould, also known as fusarium is a fungal disease that appears on the lawn as yellowish/brown patches. There are two types of snow mould; grey (typhula incarnata) which commonly occurs after prolonged snow cover, and pink (microdochium nivale) which is active in cool, wet conditions. In order to help prevent fungal disease, Greensleeves strongly recommend removing any leaves or debris by gently raking or using a leaf blower.
Though Greensleeves and our customers dedicate time to eradicating moss and mould from lawns, sometimes if the conditions are unfavourable, these fungal diseases can take hold and can only be removed by the process of scarification. This mechanical procedure involves a vigorous raking technique removing infected and dead grass, stripping the lawn back and enabling the remaining grass to have the opportunity to develop fresh growth.
If the cause of the fungal diseases are due to excessive moisture occurring due to compaction, hollow tine aeration will help to improve surface drainage and help to equip your lawn against future fungal invasions.
Not only does composting supply your soil with organic nutrients, it also aids in the suppression of weed growth and insulates plant roots, with the added benefit of reducing soil erosion from rain damage. While some gardeners might not bother composting during the winter months, it can actually help you to stay on track once the cold weather dies down.
There are a few essentials to keep in mind:
- You won’t need to turn your compost bin as often in winter, because turning helps to regulate moisture, turning the pile too often in winter can result in heat loss.
- Gardeners should try and cut down all compost materials into smaller pieces, this is because the decomposition process slows down in winter. The best strategy for optimum composting is to ensure certain materials are as small as possible.
- Layering is key, as layering brown and green compost materials helps to generate heat and insulate the pile. Fallen leaves act as a great compost insulator, so when the autumn weather kicks in, collect a store of leaves to add throughout the winter.
When it comes to winter, it’s crucial to protect plants from drastic temperature changes, to help your garden survive the colder months. Though largely forgotten, mulching plays a key role in your lawn’s survival. Usually made from materials such as straw, shredded leaves or wood chips, it creates a barrier between the soil and the air itself, shielding the grass beneath.
A layer of mulch material applied to the surface of the soil acts just like a blanket, is the easiest, and cheapest, way to winter-proof your garden. Used to retain moisture and suppress the growth of weeds, mulch helps to protect the root and stem of plants, keeping temperatures stable and adding all-important nutrients to the soil.
The winter months provide gardeners with an excellent opportunity to upgrade their outdoor green spaces. The chores you complete in winter can help to lay the groundwork for a successful spring and summer.
Here’s what we suggest:
- Pruning to remove the dying plants and vegetables is the first step to clearing up and readying your garden for winter.
- Tool maintenance should be carried out to ensure they last a lifetime. Thoroughly clean your tools for winter, using a coarse metal brush and a damp cloth to remove any stubborn dirt, following up with an oiled rag to protect materials.
- Protect delicate plants and herbs which can’t survive in the frost or extreme cold temperatures by bringing them inside for the winter. Why not create an indoor garden, and reap the benefits.
A tailored seasonal treatment is the best way to prepare your lawn for the colder months. These are specifically designed to help your lawn tackle the change in temperature. Greensleeves winter treatment takes place between November and February and involves applying a liquid product to your lawn that, as well as targeting moss, contains essential plant nutrients and can keep fungal disease activity at bay. The key benefits of a seasonal treatment are:
- Targeting moss
- Providing vital plant nutrients
- Fighting fungal diseases
- Protecting your lawn in winter months
Your grass isn’t just protected so it looks fab next season, its stays in top condition and looks great through the winter too!
Our seasonal treatments ensure that every season your lawn receives the best treatment.
Our spring feed is designed to lift the lawn out of winter and provide a deep green colour.
Our first summer treatment is designed to provide the thick, lush lawn we all know and love.
Our summer fertiliser will strengthen your lawn, even through a hot dry period.
Our specialist autumn feed ensures your grass stays healthy and prevents moss & weeds.
As the months become colder we will protect your lawn against moss & fungal diseases.