As winter rolls around, grass stops growing so there really isn’t a lot to do when it comes to the winter lawn care calendar.
If you prepared your lawn in the autumn for the stresses of winter then you should be able to spend most of the time tucked up nice and warm indoors.
However, that’s not to say it stops completely. There are a few things you can do to keep your lawn in the best condition possible throughout the cold winter months.
- Rest your lawn (for the most part)
- Clear leaves and debris
- Deal with worms and their casts
- Cut the grass (only if it’s mild and conditions are suitable)
- Aerate to improve drainage
- Apply a winter lawn feed
The jobs you do and when you do them will depend on several things; like the weather and also how your lawn care discipline was during the spring, summer and autumn.
When Should I Start My Winter Lawn Care Jobs?
For the most part, winter lawn care is about letting the lawn rest.
It’s more about light maintenance and much of it should be done as and when it needs doing.
As usual, the weather will play a big part in what needs doing and when.
For example, if it’s been windy you might one look out to find our lawn covered in fallen leaves. In which case you’d need to go out go out and clear them up as they can cause a spike in worm activity which, in turn, results in an increase worm casts. Clearing them up also prevents the onset of disease.
Also, if the weather is mild, you might find that your grass still grows, albeit slowly. So taking the top off with a light mowing will keep things looking nice and tidy.
Tools You Need For Winter Lawn Care
If you look after your lawn properly all year round, you should have pretty much all the tools you need tucked away in the shed.
This is what you’ll need:
Plastic Garden Rake or Springbok Rake
One of the biggest tasks during the winter will be clearing up leaves and any other debris that has either fallen from the trees on blown in on the wind.
To clear these up I like to use a plastic garden rake. I find their wider tines to be easier on the grass.
That said, if you have a springbok rake, that will do.
You’ll notice an increase in the number of worm casts that appear on your lawn over the winter.
The most effective way to remove them is to brush them back into the lawn with a stiff brush.
Keep your lawn mower serviced and ready to go if temperatures stay mild, especially petrol lawn mowers.
You might need to take the top off your lawn to keep it tidy.
Also, if you have a rotary lawn mower with a grass collection box, you can use it like a hoover to remove dead leaves and debris from your lawn instead of a rake.
Lawn Aerator / Garden Fork
Lawn aeration will help improve drainage in times of heavy rain.
This will prevent the infestation of moss and other problems like Dog Lichen.
Keep your aeration equipment on hand in case you need it.
Iron Sulphate / Winter Lawn Feed
Keep your Iron Sulphate to hand too.
This will keep your lawn fed and give it a nice boost of green. The high iron content will also keep the moss at bay.
Winter Lawn Care Jobs
Like summer lawn care, winter lawn care isn’t very intensive.
Here’s what you need to do to keep your lawn healthy;
Rest Your Lawn, For the Most Part
As much as you can, stay off your lawn, especially when it’s frosty.
Walking on overly wet or frosty grass can damage the grass when it’s unable to regrow and repair itself.
Also, if the snow comes, build your snowmen on patios or hard ground. Snowmen can take a long time to defrost and melt away and this can cause diseases like Fusarium Patch and Snow Mould.
If and when you do need to do the odd jobs, wait for dry days when it’s not too cold and the ground isn’t too wet.
Clear Up Any Leaves And Debris
This is probably the most important job of winter lawn care.
It’s also the most intensive.
As often as you can, clear any leaves and other debris off your lawn.
Leaves trap moisture on the surface of the lawn which can lead to fungal infections. They can also cause a spike in worm activity as they move onto the surface of your lawn to feed on them, leaving their worm casts behind.
Clear your lawn of debris at least once every week, especially at the beginning of winter when there are lots of fallen leaves from the autumn.
Deal With Worm Casts
As I said, leaves and other organic debris can lead to an increase in worm activity and their slimy casts left on the surface of your lawn.
They might look unsightly but they’re packed full of nutrients.
That said, the only real way of dealing with them effectively is to wait until they’re dry and brush them back into the surface of your lawn with a yard brush.
Cut the Grass, If Needed
Grass will grow (albeit very slowly) as long as the temperatures are above 5 degrees celcius.
In milder winters you might need to give your lawn a topping with the mower.
When I say ‘a topping’ I mean no more than a centimetre to level the grass and tidy it up. You should keep the grass on the high side.
Also, take advantage of the fact that lawn mower shops are quiet at this time of year. Get get your lawn mower services and the blades sharpened.
Once the spring rolls around they’ll be busy servicing everyone else’s mowers.
If Needed, Aerate Your Lawn
If you aerated well in the in autumn, you shouldn’t need to do it again in the winter.
That said, if you have a north facing lawn that doesn’t get much sun during the day, or if your soil is heavy clay, it’s a good idea to spike your lawn to improve drainage and give any surface moisture somewhere to go.
You really can’t spike your lawn too much. That said, avoid doing it when frost is imminent.
Apply a Winter Lawn Feed
It’s always a good idea to apply a winter lawn feed. More specifically, a dose or two of Iron Sulphate.
This does three things;
- It gives your lawn a nice boost of green when the rest of the garden is lacking in colour and vibrancy.
- It hardens the turf against the cold.
- The high iron content keeps any moss at bay and prevents it from spreading.
A dose in the middle of December and another one at the beginning of February should be plenty.
As I’ve said, when it comes to winter lawn care, there isn’t really much to do. It’s not a demanding time of year.
But if you keep on top of these jobs in winter, your spring lawn care program will be much easier.
Over to You
How do you care for your lawn in the winter?
Have you experience any problems or need any help?
Leave a comment below and I’ll jump in and answer.