Preserving winter colour by reducing traffic

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 3 June 2020 

This week certainly has been cold, and wet! It seemed like the mercury plunged right on cue. With most varieties of lawn now in Winter dormancy, It would pay to limit how much you use it as overuse during Winter can lead to colour loss and patchyness.

The most common varieties of lawn in Adelaide are Couch, Kikuyu and Buffalo. These are classified as warm season grasses. According to James B Beard, “Warm season turf grasses are those species having a temperature optimum of 26 to 35 degrees celsius” As temperatures fall below 26 degrees, they slow down until almost completely stopping at around the 20 degree mark. Only a rise in temperature will bring them out of dormancy.

There is very little you can do to improve the appearance or performance of your grass once temperatures fall below 20 degrees. 

Being the start of Winter, it's good to be aware of this because it gives you the opportunity to reduce wear and tear giving you the best chance of holding maximum colour.  Consider ways limit exposure to high amounts of traffic. This includes pet traffic, foot traffic and sport.  Perhaps Clint Eastwood summed it up well in Gran Torino when he said, rather passionately, “get off my lawn”. In reality though, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use your lawn during Winter but rather, if traffic results in discolouration and worn patches, you may want to think about reducing it so that you preserve colour and appearance.

I understand that in saying this, many people don’t have a choice about how much traffic their lawn is exposed to. This is OK too because while excessive traffic may degrade your lawns appearance, it is unlikely to permanently damage it. If your lawn is healthy coming into Winter, it will repair itself in Spring when temperatures increase.

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