Recovering your lawn from the Winter doldrums

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 24 August 2022 

If your lawn has been looking worse for wear this Winter, Spring is close and is when it will start to repair. How long will this take, and what can you expect?

Most people in South Australia have warm-season lawns such as Couch, Kikuyu or Buffalo, so that is the lawn classification I will focus on in this blog. By the way, If you haven’t already, go back and read last week’s blog on understanding a bit more about warm and cool season lawns.

The trigger that is going to make your lawn transition from Winter dormancy is heat. Different varieties will vary on how much heat they need to get started for the season – our experience tells us something like this:

  • Kikuyu will begin emerging from dormancy in early to mid-September
  • Couch will do likewise from late September
  • Buffalo won’t get going till early October.

Knowing this is important because any effort you throw at it must coincide with it coming out of dormancy. Start too early, and you potentially waste your time and money.

The time it will take to repair will depend on its condition. It will naturally take longer to repair if it’s been knocked around during the Winter; however, if there are no significant issues, I’d expect most lawns to be looking good again by the end of October if you’re prepared to do a bit of early maintenance. The great thing about Warm Season lawn is the level of resilience they have. Even if you do nothing by way of maintenance, they will still recover to a degree simply because of the addition of heat. 

Pre Spring maintenance:

Before your lawn comes out of dormancy, you can core and topdress. Coring has some amazing benefits, which I’ll discuss in next week’s blog. I’d get onto this from late August into early September. It will set your lawn up for a good start. It's also not a bad idea to treat for beetles if you anticipate they are going to be an issue. Use a product such as Yates Grub Kill and Protect. It contains acelepryn and will last in the soil for up to 6 months, protecting your lawn from the damaging affects of beetle larvae. 


Most people who love their lawn will give it a Spring feed. Don’t go too early, though! For best results, fertilise from early to mid-October, especially if you fertilised in the Autumn. This gives your lawn a chance to use up some of its stored nutrients, representing a healthier outcome for the lawn. Fertilise with a balanced mineral fertiliser such as Paul Munns Greenkeeper. We have some great deals running until the end of November.

Water Management:

By all reports, early Spring may be wetter than average. Consider this when making the decision when to start watering your lawn again. If you turn your irrigation system on when the soil is still saturated from natural rain, you might run into drainage issues. I can’t really advise when to start watering again after Winter because it depends on the season; however, mid-October is generally a good indicator.


Start mowing again as soon as your lawn emerges from dormancy. If you raised your mower height by a notch pre-winter to preserve colour, this is the time to take it back down again. You’ll potentially have some weeds emerge in early Spring, and it’s a good idea to keep them mown until you clean them out. If they get the chance to produce seed heads, it will worsen your weed problem. Avoid scalping or scarifying your lawn until late October / early November. This is the time when it will recover the fastest.

If you've had some significant issues over the Winter months, cut a core sample out from a poor area and bring it in to see us at our store at Hove. The best time to do this is from mid-September. In that way we can give you some tailored advice for your unique lawn to get it looking good as soon as possible

As always, if you'd like to chat about your lawn, give us a call on 82980555 or email us at


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