Preparing your lawn for winter

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 8 May 2018 

As we get into the later part of Autumn, you may have noticed your lawn starting to slow down. With this in mind, what should you do now to make sure your lawn stays healthy and green during winter?

If you have a warm season grass (ie couch, kikuyu or buffalo), as the weather gets cooler your lawn will start going into winter dormancy. Warm season grasses grow during the warm weather and virtually stop growing during the cold weather. There are some things that you can do now to prepare your lawn for winter to ensure it stays as healthy and green as possible.

Raise your mower height

One thing you should do now is raise your mower height – by one notch. This will leave more blades present on your lawn which will add to the overall “greenness”. It will also make it a lot less likely for you to scalp your lawn. Scalping is where you cut your lawn too low, effectively removing all the blades and leaving those familiar brown swirl marks from your mower. During the warm weather, your lawn will quickly recover from this because it is actively growing but because your lawn will virtually stop growing during the winter, it won’t be able to grow back any new blades till spring.  My advice to you is within the next few weeks, raise your mower height by one notch and keep it on this setting till the end of September. As soon as Spring starts,  take it down to where it was prior to winter.

Fertilise

Another thing you can do if you haven’t already is fertilise your lawn. Fertilising in Autumn helps your lawn stay greener in winter but it also gives your lawn some extra nutrient to store up during the winter months which gives it something to get started on when it comes out of dormancy.  This really makes a difference in the spring. Use a mineral fertiliser high in potassium such as Paul Munns Emerald Green

Adjust your watering schedule

The remainder of May is forcast to be relatively dry however when consistent rain does arrive, remember to adjust your watering system. If it’s automated, reprogram your computer to compensate for the extra rain around – you don’t want to over do the water in winter as it will only lead to problems.

Rake off the Autumn Leaves

If your lawn is under a deciduous tree, rake up the leaves regularly. Excessive amounts of leaves can shade out your lawn but they can also encourage mosses and algaes to grow which isn't ideal for your lawn.  

Outside of these things, your lawn will most likely take care of itself during winter with very little input from you. While warm season grasses go dormant during winter, they should not go brown (except if exposed to frost).  If you do happen to notice irregular areas of lawn dying off, take a core sample and bring it down to us as soon as possible. This is not normal, even for winter and should be attended to.


Comments (9)

New Lawn

By: on 16 July 2019
Hi, we had a new Kikuyu lawn laid about 6 weeks ago and I have noticed that the lower part, at base of the lawn is now yellowing. Lawn still appears green until you look closely between the upper growth. Being winter we have not yet fertilized or mowed. Is this normal during winter, or is there possibly an issue? Is the lawn possibly water logged due to all the rain lately? Will it recover? Thanks

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Debbie, Thanks for your post. When laying kikuyu in it's off season (May to September) it can yellow off to a degree. This is normal. If you notice any patchiness or areas dying off, this is not normal. One of the things that can help is to take a photo of the whole lawn now as a reference point. You can then refer the the photo through the rest of winter to see if it deteriorates further. You should see things improve from the middle of September.

Didn't fertilise in Autumn!

By: on 8 June 2019
Is it still ok if I liquid fertilise with an iron based product now (in Brisbane) if I didn't do anything in Autumn? I have weeds dieing throughout the grass and going brown which is good, but want to give the grass a boost...or at least a headstart when the warmer weather comes. Is this ok and if so, what product would you recommend? If not, can I do anything or just wait? Thanks!

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hey Matt, Generally speaking, Winter is a season you would skip for fertilising. Having said that, Queensland average temperatures in Winter are higher than here in SA so you may get some result from a liquid fertiliser.

Laying new grass

By: on 30 May 2019
Hi, looking to lay some more Santa Ana couch. Just wondering if it was still ok to do so with winter just around the corner, cheers.

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hey Clayton, Thanks for your question. Santa Ana is a warm season grass and therefore the best time of year to lay it is from September through to May however it can still can be laid now and right through winter with no problems. For some more guidance and tips on how to do this have a read of this blog: https://www.paulmunnsinstantlawn.com.au/blog/laying-instant-lawn-during-winter/

Laying new grass

By: on 30 May 2019
Hi, looking to lay some more Santa Ana couch. Just wondering if it was still ok to do so with winter just around the corner, cheers.

Clover

By: on 11 May 2019
Hi....thank you for an interesting article. I live at North Haven and have a Santa Anna Couch lawn. We are starting to get a lot of clover in it. Last year it took over and nearly killed our lawn. Is there anything I can do now to stop it taking over? Thank you

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hey Carole, If you are getting clover coming up seasonally every year during the cooler months, it may be Soursobs rather than clover (they look very similar on the surface). So that we can give you the right advice, can you email a photo of the weed to admin@paulmunnsinstantlawn.com.au

Fertilizer advice

By: on 8 March 2019
We laid fescue on a 15 x 20m area 3 years ago. We were advised to use 'Lawn solutions fertiliser' which we spread at all the correct times, seems to give the lawn good boost. Costs an arm and a leg though. Have tried cheaper ones that don't work as well. do you sell a cheaper equivalent one? Thanks Andrew

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hey Andrew, Fertilisers can work - or not work - for a number of reasons. Factors such as whether they are slow release or fast release, how soluble they are, how concentrated they, application frequency and application rate can all effect your end result. Often cheaper ones don't disolve as well, but more often they are not as concentrated or are recommended to spread over a larger area in relation to their analysis - (ie less nutrients over a larger area). We sell a prescription blended fertiliser called Baileys Brilliance for larger areas like yours. 1 x 20kg bag will cover your area nicely. (available on our web store or instore at Hove for $49.75). Give it a try - I think you'll love it.

What lawn seed to plant & when?

By: on 9 September 2018
I live in the Adelaide Hills and need to fill in/repair a grassed area (a 'pretend' lawn). Last summer a lot died off and there were bare patches of soil - the grassed area has regrown this winter but I would like to repair again with a summer grass that will survive the heat. Is Kikuyu the grass seed to use or what can you recommend? And when do I re-seed, is it later when the soil temperature has increased?

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Bev, Thanks for your comments and questions. You're on the right track - I would recommend Kikuyu lawn seed as it is very hard wearing and drought tolerant. Kikuyu is a warm season grass so It is best sown any time from now onward.

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