It’s time to get your lawn ready for winter!
The weather has turned. We’ve had a few ground frosts, and it feels much cooler, so it’s safe to say winter is here.
Our friend Martin Fish from Pots & Trowels shares his tips and advice to help get your lawn in tip-top shape for the winter season. You can watch the video below, or you can keep reading to find out how to scarify your lawn and maintain its appearance over the winter months.
How to get your lawn ready for winter
As soon as ground frost appears it calms all of the growth in the garden, including your lawn. Your grass will have been growing from spring and all throughout the summer with no break. It will have been green and lush and full. But now this cool weather is upon us, your lawn growth will gradually slow down. This doesn’t mean you have to stop mowing, though.
Lots of people think November/December time means you should put the lawnmower away, but even though the air temperature is cool the ground temperature is still warm and your grass will still be growing – albeit at a slower pace. This is why a little maintenance now will keep your lawn in good condition and help it to get through the cold winter, ensuring it gets off to a great start next spring.
Your step-by-step guide to winter lawn maintenance
Step 1 – Mow your lawn
This can be easier said than done. Even on a dry day with blue skies, the ground can often be a little dewy, which isn’t conducive to mowing. If you can, pick a time when the lawn is as dry as possible – over lunchtime perhaps – when the sun has had a chance to dry off some of the ground.
Before you mow your lawn, it’s important to assess its current state. Worms can be a big problem at this time of year, and you’ll find evidence of these worms through worm casts on your lawn. This is where the worms have pushed up piles of soil and they appear as lumps of mud. The main problem with wormcasts is when you mow over them and the mud smears on your mower wheels or rollers. This flattens the worm casts and then becomes an ideal place for weed seeds to grow.
So, you’ll need to get rid of all of your worm casts. The easiest way to do this is to brush them off. A stiff brush can be a great tool to help remove these unsightly patches. The brush not only scatters the worm cast by simply brushing the piles away, but it also knocks off any dew off the grass. It’s simply a case of going over the whole lawn with wide sweeps to disperse dew and get rid of the worm casts.
Mowing at this time of year simply means taking the top of the grass off. It’s never a time to cut close or scalp the lawn. It’s a good idea to collect grass cuttings at this time of year too, instead of mulch mowing, as you can also pick up a few leaves that have fallen and remain on your lawn.
Step 2 – Scarify your lawn
Once you’ve mowed your lawn, the next phase is a very light scarifying. Scarifying and aerating your lawn is important as it will aid drainage. This shouldn’t be too drastic, as the grass won’t have time to recover before winter if you go over it heavy-handed. A heavier scarifying should take place in the spring. At this time of year, a simple light maintenance will do to help remove dead materials and moss, but mainly to help let more air in to the ground.
One way of doing this is with a rake, such as the Darlac Expanding Telescopic Rake. This can be adjusted and be used as a narrow or wide rake. The variety in the size of tines means you can set it to suit your needs.
Where there is moss, rake the grass lightly to bring out the old material. This will lift up the older pieces and dead grass and will let more air in. Remember, a light lawn rake is all you need.
Alternatively you could use a scarifier, such as an electric one, that could be part of your lawn mower. This will collect the wastage and could be good if you’ve got a large lawn. Be careful to only use a light setting, though.
Alternatively, you could use the Darlac Lawn Scarifier. Our telescopic scarifier was put to the test by Gardeners’ World Magazine and was awarded a Best Buy Product for performance! The excellent review showcases all the things we love about this product, “This lawn scarifier is easy to use… We love its telescopic handle, because you can easily adjust the height by simply twisting the shaft to unlock and extend it.”
However you choose to scarify your lawn, it will allow water to drain much better over winter and this will ensure your lawn is kept in a much better condition.
Step 3 – Aerate your lawn
The final stage of winter lawn maintenance is aeration. This can be done with a garden fork. Even well drained soil can get waterlogged, so if you have an area of your lawn that gets very wet, it’s worth getting your garden fork and pushing it into the ground – about 4-6 inches – and moving across the lawn in rows. This will help to get rid of surface water as you will add drainage channels, but most importantly it will allow air into your grass roots, and will prevent the roots from getting waterlogged. Remember, air is needed for healthy root growth.
Building up your grass base is easy to do and come next spring you’ll have a fantastic lawn. It’s worth the effort and you’ll reap the rewards. A little work, often, is best!
Where can I buy Darlac tools?
At Darlac, we’ve got the right tool to help perfect your lawn and make your gardening tasks as easy as possible. You can find our products in store from your local garden centre. Find your local Darlac stockist here.
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