This November has been a little colder than the last couple, checking grass growth earlier than normal. Last year it was late January before we saw heavy frosts, freezing temperatures and the grass finally entering a dormant stage - this has already become common place. Could it be a long overdue cold winter?
Providing any renovation works were done in good time then this shouldn't be a problem. December is looking like more of the same - relatively dry and relatively cold. Dependent on grass type, the plant is dormant when soil (not air) temperatures fall below 5-8c.
Remember to keep off the lawn when the conditions are unsuitable. Frosty or waterlogged conditions will cause the plant harm, and damage it won't be able to recover from at this time of year.
Summary of this month's tasks:
Dependent on the TLC you give to your lawn, many will have put the mower away for the year; more so if it's a small or shaded area. If you haven't in the past couple of weeks, you should look to give the lawn a final cut now, but on a higher setting than previously. Dependent on the quaility of your lawn, this could range from 25-35mm - consider that the mower may sink slightly into the turf at this time of year.
Clearing leaves is vital to turf health. It's cold, wet and dark under there. Why not get the mower out to hoover them up, striping up the lawn in the process, rather than getting the rake out?
Remember never to take more than 1/3 of the plant with any single cut.
Aerating the lawn is likely to be of most benefit to the plant at this time year - even more of a benefit than mowing. Aeration will improve drainage, getting water away from the surface where it can cause problems including but not limited to waterlogging, moss, disease, along with improving root depth and mass. Aeration also improves gaseous exchange, aiding the natural breakdown of thatch.
We offer aeration with both hollow and fracture tines. Contacting us would be a worthwhile move, more so if you have a medium to large lawn. Otherwise, the garden fork or a rolling lawn aeration could be good options.
Our cool season grasses enjoy a cool season fertiliser! Well designed products can give your lawn a great look for the festive period. It's important that the product you choose is low in, or contains just a trace of nitrogen at this time of year to avoid the risk of disease.
Remember not to make any applications during frosty conditions.
If looking to treat for weeds, removing them by hand is the only way this time of year. Herbicides will have next to no effect with little warmth and growth.
Scarification, over-seeding, top-dressing
Too late to consider. You will either be doing harm, wasting money or both.
With lawn tasks under control at long last, keeping paths and driveways clear of leaves not only looks neat, but helps prevent any nasty accidents during the excitement of the Christmas period. You may wish to attend to any scruffy looking shrubs or borders if the weather has given them a battering.
Give any tools and machinery some attention when you're done with them for the year. If you don't look after your mower now, you may find yourselves calling us in March!
Above all else, we'd like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!