The secrets to a beautiful winter lawn: Top tips from Victa to keep your lawn green and healthy during the colder months
With winter now fast approaching, it’s time to start preparing your lawn to ensure it stays green and healthy during the colder months.
A beautiful winter lawn requires preparation in autumn, prior to the onset of winter. Once winter’s cooler temperatures and, in some parts of Australia, icy winds arrive, there’s little that can be done to bring a lawn back to good health.
With the shortening of daylight hours in winter, lawns have less time to photo-synthesise, which is how they obtain their food and energy. However, you can combat this by increasing mowing heights to leave more green leaf to increase the food supply to the grass.
As a general rule, it’s wise to not cut your grass lower than 2.5cm. During the cooler months, grass grows more slowly, so it’s important to not ‘scalp’ your lawn, as it will brown and weaken the grass, allowing more weeds and diseases to take hold.
A winter tune up
Now is also a good time to check all your lawncare equipment is in good working order. Check that the mower blades are sharp and that all your equipment is serviced with fresh spark plugs, new oil, clean air filters and fresh fuel. Your mower will thank you for this TLC!
Let there be light
During autumn and winter, your lawn needs as much sunlight as possible. You can easily maximise the sunlight exposure by collecting lawn clippings, leaves and sticks dropped by deciduous trees and lawn cuttings to ensure the grass is not starved of air and sunlight.
How often to mow
In winter, lawn growth typically decreases substantially. As a guide, your lawn should only need to be mown around once every three to four weeks. Growing rates can vary between popular grasses such as Couch and Kikuyu, but it’s important not to cut lower than 2.5cm as your lawn may become ‘stalky’ and less aesthetically pleasing.
With lawns generally in a weakened state during winter, weeds can get a foothold and start to become a problem. Broad leafed (non-grass) weeds can be fairly easily controlled with selective herbicides which target unwanted invaders, but not the grass itself.
Typical examples of broad leafed weeds are dandelions, lawn daisies, clover, cudweed and thistles. To treat them, apply herbicides directly to the weeds or you can spray over the entire lawn by connecting the liquid herbicide to your hose attachment. If applying by watering can, to reduce the risk of accidental contamination, it’s advisable to use a separate watering can for herbicide use.
Feed up for winter
May is the best time to apply a high quality winter fertiliser. Winter fertilisers contain higher levels of iron which maintains the lawn’s health throughout the colder months and help strengthen and green up lawns over this period. The second application should be done eight weeks later in July. The next fertilising is due in September, using a standard lawn fertiliser. To prevent rust stains from the iron, be careful in your application and keep paths clean after fertilising and before watering.
Aerating your lawn
Winter is the perfect time to aerate your lawn to reduce the compacting of soil. Aerating loosens the soil and allows nutrients and moisture to reach the roots. The simplest method is to use an ordinary garden fork, pushing it firmly into the ground, wiggling it around and then repeating the process every 15 centimetres. Alternatively you can hire an aerator from your local hardware or machinery hire centre which will certainly get the job done a lot faster.
A mulching mower
Mowers that mulch and return the grass clippings to your lawn, such as the Victa Corvette 500, are a form of organic fertilising, as they effectively mow and mulch at the same time. You can return 15 per cent more nutrients back into your soil simply by mowing your lawn with a mulching mower.
Testing pH levels
To optimise your lawn, it helps to know how acidic or alkaline your soil is. This will help to determine the condition of your soil and what your soil may require to nourish and sustain a healthy lawn. You can purchase a pH kit from your local garden or hardware store and ask your local nursery or garden supplier about the recommended pH levels in your area.
Sowing new seeds
If your lawn is looking a bit patchy, the colder months are a good time to over-sow your lawn with new seeds to fill in the gaps. A little TLC in autumn and winter will ensure a beautiful lush lawn in spring when a new growing period begins.
A good soak
Before the harsh effects of winter kick in, it’s a good idea to give your lawn a good last drink. This will help to activate lawn fertilizers.
Victa lawn care equipment is available from leading outdoor power equipment specialists. Call 1800 356 632 or visit www.victa.com.au to find your local stockist.
About Victa – www.victa.com.au
Victa is an iconic Australian brand with a history spanning 60 years. From humble beginnings in a Concord NSW backyard where it was created in 1952, Victa has expanded to become a global exporter of lawncare products. Today, Victa is owned by the Briggs & Stratton Corporation, a world leading small engine manufacturer and major supplier of engines to Victa. The vast majority of Victa mower products continue to be assembled in Australia at the Moorebank NSW head office.
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