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19 December 2012

Winter Lawn Maintenance

If you want your lawn to look it's best in the summer, it is worth putting in some effort during the winter - it will not be wasted. You may naturally lose some grass cover and density over the winter months and ensuring that your lawn grass plants are well prepared for the ravages of winter is the best advice. Good healthy turf grasses survive winter better than weed grasses, weeds and moss and thin grass cover.

Try to rest the lawn as much as possible during winter. If practical keep off when wet or frosty, as the grass plants are not actively growing and if damaged they will not repair themselves until the spring.

Use a light rake or brush to keep the lawn free of leaves and debris. Specialist leaf sweepers and lawn vacuums are available for those with larger lawns, although in winter it is better to keep off with heavier machines. Lawns should not be scarified in the winter months when there is little chance of natural grass plant recovery following the scarification process

Only mow the lawn if necessary - this will depend upon weather conditions and temperatures at the time. Do not mow if heavy frosts are expected or if the ground is very wet.

Soil, particularly heavy clay soil, tends to become compacted by foot traffic and by heavy rainfall making it difficult for moisture and gases essential for grass development to reach the roots, leading to poor root development. This in turn leads to weak grass and poor drought and disease tolerance. This can be remedied by aerating the lawn using a fork, or perhaps a spiking machine if you have a large lawn. These can often be hired from local garden centres or DIY stores. Aeration will improve drainage and allow more air into the root system resulting in a healthier lawn.

Worm casts are unsightly but are best left to dry and then swept or brushed away with a stiff brush. Bear in mind that worms improve the nutrient content of a soil and are beneficial to the soil structure.

Winter is the ideal time to service or replace your mower if necessary ready for the next growing season, especially making sure that the blades are sharp and in good condition, replacing them if necessary. If you need a new mower you may find that they are cheaper in the winter than when shops have just got their new season's stock in.

I hope that you have found this article useful and that you have a healthy lawn to admire next year.
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