The lawn, just like virtually everything else in the garden, slows down during winter.
This is hardly surprising with cold, possibly even icy nights, cool soil and shorter days providing less of the sunlight that’s so essential for growth.
It all means that there is the very real potential for your lawn to end up looking the worse for wear.
But with a little bit of warming winter work, you can have it ready to bounce back to life in spring.
There’s a high chance you’ll only need to mow about once a month, or even less, during winter in many regions.
This is partly because most of the turf grasses we grow are warm-season grasses, meaning their main growth period is in the warmer months.
The big questions are how to tell if you need to mow and how to cut.
When it comes to timing, it’s fairly simple.
If the lawn looks a bit shaggy and feels too spongy underfoot, it’s time to fire up the mower.
Maintain the mower
There’s no better time to give your mower a little attention.
It’s wise to have it professionally serviced once every 12-18 months, but there are a few simple things you can do DIY in between.
GIVE it a good clean up all over, paying particular attention to underneath the deck.
USE the cleaning port if your mower has one. With the mower set high and on the lawn, click on the hose, put the mower on full throttle, turn on the water, then run it for about 30 seconds.
CLEAN the air filter, dust it off or replace if necessary. Also check the filter seals.
DISCONNECT the spark plug lead and check that the blades are clean and sharp. Use a file to remove any bumps or burrs and, if they’re very damaged or blunt, replace.
Set the mower blades to the same height as you would at any other time of year
It wasn’t long ago that feeding the lawn was something we only talked about in spring and early summer.
But with increased understanding of how turf grows and soil functions, plus advances in fertilisers, feeding in the cooler months is considered a very worthwhile practice.
While lawns aren’t growing fast, they do need extra energy reserves to repair damage caused by cold weather and to maintain their strength.
The soil also needs to be considered when it comes to feeding.
The myriad microorganisms in the soil convert the nutrients you apply as fertiliser into ones that grass can consume.
So it’s important to keep these soil workers healthy by providing them with organic components, such as a seaweed tonic.
If using a granulated fertiliser, make sure it’s slow release and apply about half the recommended dose.
Or use a cool-season formulation fertiliser.
To nurture soil, water in regular fertiliser with a seaweed tonic or use an organic-based fertiliser.