grass in frost

Winter Turf Care Tips

It's winter time in Australia, here are just a few quick tips to help you take care of your lawn during the colder months.


 

Raise your mower height approx. 1-2 notches 

This is recommended to avoid scalping which will take longer to recover due to the slower growth rates, it also gives the plant a higher leaf content than usual which is needed to increase photosynthesis, due to the shorter days & lower sun position in winter.

 

Reduce your watering frequency

During winter the rate of evaporation of moisture from your lawn is much lower, therefore less water is needed (about half of what you would use in summer). 

Take note of your soil moisture content by pushing a screwdriver (or similar) 100mm into the ground, if the screwdriver is quite moist then you don't need to water your lawn.

Over watering can lead to all sorts of issues with fungal diseases, especially in areas that will stay constantly wet due to less sunlight or poor drainage.

 

Avoid fertilising in winter

The slower rate of growth means that the plant will probably not use all of the fertiliser and hence it will be wasted to either stormwater run-off or evaporation.

The ideal times to fertilise your lawn is at the start of spring (early-mid September) and at the start of Autumn (early-mid March)

 

Frost burn

Frost burn occurs when the due/condensation from overnight is frozen onto the leaf, the sun then rises and burns the leaf through the ice like a magnifying glass.

This is generally not an issue for built up urban areas such as suburbia and inner city areas but higher elevations and rural areas are prone to frost.

The best way to protect your lawn from frost burn is to give the lawn a light watering (approx. 10mins) to melt off the ice just before sunrise.

This can be achieved using a simple timer & multi hose/sprinkler system or if you are lucky enough to have an irrigation system just rig the timer to come on approx. 15mins before sunrise.

Keep in mind that the sunrise time changes slightly each day, so its best to check this & adjust accordingly once a week. the easiest way to check the sunrise time is to literally ask google "what time will the sun rise tomorrow?"

 

Protect your lawn from temporary fire pits

Unfortunately there is not much you can do to shield your turf from fire pits, they can get very hot and tend to burn all grass within 0.5-1m of the fire, just from the radiation of heat, even through multiple layers of bricks or stone.

The turf will recover eventually, but this could take up to 6 months after the initial burn so if you want to have a fire pit in the back yard to toast your marshmallows, here are your options

- Select a patch of lawn that you don't mind loosing,

- Put the fire pit on a concrete/paved slab away from the lawn,

- Replace the patch of turf at the end of winter.