Should You Keep Lawn Mowing in Winter?
Feeling a bit less eager to jump out from the warmth of your bed these mornings?
After some wild weather in most parts of the country, winter has snuck up on us and is almost here. The drop of a few degrees making us part with our beloved shorts and tees and reluctantly bring out the woolies. Flannelette sheets, electric blankets and bottled water is flying off the shelves. Panic is setting in to be prepared for upcoming weather systems - but how do we approach lawn mowing in between these winter wet weather spells?
Just because a cold frost has hit, doesn’t mean your lawn has to look any less inviting.
In the summer months your lawn thrives with heat and sunlight promoting photosynthesis. You have probably been struggling to keep up with cuts in this summer’s humid, tropical weather so a crisp cool breeze is a bit of relief right now. Your lawn has been a champion during summer coping with scorching heat, being flattened by kids and hopefully the brown patches from backyard tents have disappeared.
It’s time for a bit of TLC, so here are our answers to any questions you may have about mowing in the winter months, because your grass doesn’t stop growing completely, just at a slower rate.
Should I continue to mow the lawns in the winter months?
During the winter we suggest getting your lawns cut every 3-4 weeks (depending where you are in the country, it's best to check with your regular Crewcut operator). Keep a cut that will stay upright. Once it gets too tall the grass begins to bend over and shade itself which can encourage disease. Lawns are plants too, they need airflow! Due to the larger amount of rain it can be difficult to find a good time between showers, but just keep an eye on the weather or keep in contact with your local mower.
How do I mow the lawns when they're wet?
Your parents have told you, your friends, and your neighbours all have their own thoughts on mowing when wet. A light shower is manageable, a quick clean of the mower afterwards and you’ll be fine. After longer periods of wet weather it can be more dangerous; and for someone who takes pride in their lawns, the cut won’t be as good.
Our advice - avoid it if you can after heavy rainfall. Putting a mower over wet grass and muddy grounds can do more harm than good. The mower blades can dig deeper into a soft lawn; killing new grass sprouts. If the grass is too long or heavy with moisture it can bend over, giving an uneven cut.
A good test - if the lawn sinks when you walk on it, it’s too wet. So for those lawn perfectionists, sorry you may want to leave it a bit wild for the time being until it has a chance to get dry with some rays.
How do I keep debris under control?
Raking and keeping any fallen branches or leaves under control is a must in winter! A pile of leaves, grass clippings and anything else that comes over from your neighbours lawn will become a sopping pile of dirt come spring. If you only have a light layer of leaves you could mow and mulch them over your lawn instead. The small, cut up leaves can be a good form of compost for your lawn in winter - as long as the grass isn’t weighed down.
Can I walk on the wet lawns?
The best cure is prevention, so if you’ve had recent flooding or heavy rain try not to walk on the lawn when wet. This will compact the soil, if you leave wet footprints behind you - it’s too wet! Come Spring you will find the soil is patchy and not quite what you would like. If you’ve been having trouble with flooded lawns and looking to do something about it like installing a rain garden or using mulch to absorb the excess water.
Don’t forget your compost
Your compost heap might not be so quick to break things down, so do consider cutting things up a bit smaller to help the process along.
Make sure you keep your compost a bit warmer, every time you top it up with scraps, throw a layer of leaves, sawdust or other carbon material on top for insulation. You could also think about insulating the outside with hay, a tarp or black plastic to keep it toasty.
If your compost is covered from any weather storms, make sure you give it a water every now and then as cold winds will leave it dry.
Or if you haven’t started any sort of compost - read our article 'The Secret Magic of Composting' to find out more.
Time to cut back the unruly hedges and trees
If you have any hedges or shrubs, late winter is a great time to trim or shape them. This gives your hedge a good start when it has it’s growth spurt come Spring. Wait for a dry day to remove any broken branches and trim so the light can reach the lowest part of the plant. If you’re tackling a large piece of hedge and keeping it straight sounds a bit daunting - try using a string as a guide. Or if your hedge might need some heavy equipment we recommend consulting with a hedge trimming specialist, such as your local Crewcut operator.
Treat your gardens
Add organics such as compost, worm farm liquids and small chopped leaves to your gardens at the end of autumn so they have time to break it down to rich soil. Making more successful germination when it comes to spring. Now is the time your lawns could use fertilisation if you want as they will lose nutrients through winter - or simply fertilise organically by mulching some leaves over.
Lawn mowing and garden maintenance might not seem so important in winter - but you can take some precautions to ensure they are in top condition for spring. Mowing as recommended in the winter will help prevent disease, promote healthy growth and is easier to maintain if strong weather does bring some heavy rain. Winter is definitely a time to stay indoors and keep near the fire - but don’t forget about those gardens either! Now is the perfect time to prepare, so there’s no excuses to complain when your Spring vegetables don’t grow. But, we don’t blame you if you aren’t too keen to get outside when it gets chilly. So keep an eye on the weather or have a chat to your local Crewcut operator to see what services they offer in the colder months.