It’s possible to have good looking grass all year round with some help
Regular maintenance and, where applicable, remedial work should be rewarded with a lawn that looks good all year round. There’s no need to settle for a ragged and tatty looking lawn during the winter months – some judicious work and providing protection for heavily used areas will pay dividends.
It’s a core part of grass care, but the frequency and height of your mower blades (if adjustable) is key – as is the possible need to mow for longer into the supposed cooler months of autumn and even winter.
Check your mower before using it for the first time; blunt blades in particular need replacing or sharpening as they’ll tend to tear the grass out of the soil rather than neatly cutting the blades.
Of course you need to vary how much you mow depending on the rate of grass growth. Just because its summer doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be out there every week mowing; a hot spell may cause growth to slow so once a fortnight may be enough.
Similarly, while mowing may all but cease once into October, a milder autumn and start to the winter could see you giving the grass one or two cuts even into November and maybe beyond.
If your grass does require a mowing in winter, proceed carefully though. Don’t mow excessively wet grass or while its frosty – and don’t mow if a frost is forecast within the following 24 hours. If you have any worm casts brush these away before mowing as soil blunts the blades.
Ideally you should try and use your grass less frequently in winter as excessive wet and frost can make for problems. Footfall can compact frosty blades of grass which flattens them and prevents air getting into the soil not to mention the tell-tale footprint indentations across the grass.
Wet grass is vulnerable to flattening and, if subject to heavier uses such as people playing sport on it or parking their cars, can churn and rut so likely leading to labour-intensive repair and possible relaying work.
Landscaping retailers such as Essex based Suregreen provide solutions in the form of plastic matting and mesh to protect grass against heavy use. Plastic matting provides a flexible, temporary solution while Suregreen grass protection mesh is designed for the longer term as, once laid, the grass grows through and binds with the mesh filaments to provide a strong and stable base.
At other times of the year, any excessive wear should be dealt with by reseeding or simply keeping footfall away from the area while the grass regenerates.
Weeds and moss
Hard to completely avoid, so prompt action is required before either or both take hold. You may notice the first signs of moss as early as February but the spring is the time to wage war on it and any weeds starting to grow.
Come April, apply a weed killer treatment but choose a selective type that will kill the weeds but not the grass. You may be tempted to get to work as soon as you see moss or weeds, but ideally wait until April as it’s still possible to experience cold snaps as late as March, which will stop the weeds growing anyway.
Once the moss has died and turned black, rake it away and ideally spike the lawn as this will help aerate the soil and relieve the inevitable compaction in places that, despite your best efforts, would have likely taken place.
It’s worth understanding weed control. In particular, proceed carefully when considering their use on new lawns.
Battling the weeds and moss may well be an ongoing process through the spring, summer and maybe early autumn but a regular regime of feeding, scarifying, aerating and treating with weedkiller should help you keep on top of it and keep the grass looking good.
If any repairs are needed such as reseeding a worn patch or re-turfing, then do it before the colder winter weather arrives so you give the turf time to grow strong roots or for the seed to become established and grow new grass.
Hard work but worth it
Yes, maintaining a lawn to look good in the winter takes a certain amount of year-round effort, but it will be worth it to look out on a chilly winter morning at a tidy swathe of green rather than a muddy leaf-strewn tatty off-colour lawn.