Winter turf care tips: How to take care of lawns in winter
With the right care and preparation of turf over winter, you will be rewarded with a green, healthy sward as winter moves into spring.
What fertiliser is best for lawns and turf in winter?
Even in winter there are plenty of opportunities to improve the health and appearance of turf with a suitable fertiliser application from Velvit.
6% Complex Iron liquid fertiliser is a gentle, fast-acting iron formulation based on iron chelated with EDTA that will rapidly provide rapid green up and boost the health of the sward.
Black & Green is an iron and magnesium rich granular fertiliser that will rapidly green-up the lawn and ‘harden’ the turf against stress and disease.
First & Last liquid fertiliser is the ideal all-in-one fertiliser for application in autumn, winter and early spring. With low levels of nitrogen, high phosphorus with iron, trace elements, seaweed and fulvic acids it provides a powerful tonic, hardens turf, stimulates root growth, encourages green-up and improves the plants tolerance to stress and disease.
Winter turf care tips:
Rest the turf. With frozen ground and frost, the plants have greater susceptibility to damage from any physical activity and with cold temperatures reducing metabolic function their ability to recover from damage is impaired, opening the way to disease. It’s best to avoid any activity at these times and let snow melt rather than attempting to clear it. Avoid applying fertiliser during frosty conditions.
Keep mowing. Grass grows slowly during the colder months (when the temperature is more than 5°C) but mowing can still be important. ‘Last cut of the year’ is an often heard phrase from those looking after a lawn; however if it is not frosty and the ground is not wet then mowing with a raised height will keep a lawn neat and invigorated whilst removing only very few clippings.
Floods…don’t panic. Surface water can be a problem in the winter, small floods on a lawn rarely cause a lasting problem if they are gone within a week. If the flood lasts longer then the chance of damage increases but the turf may still recover quickly once the land has drained. Avoid walking on sodden lawns as this can easily damage and compact them. Aerate the turf to relieve compaction, improve drainage and allow more oxygen to the root zone. Consider longer term drainage improvements.
Avoid fungal disease. Most fungal problems will be encouraged by persistent surface moisture and poor aeration. On fine turf such as on a golf course removing dew every morning, aerating the turf and top dressing with sand are good practices in winter to reduce the likelihood of disease. Avoid fertilisers containing nitrogen that will encourage soft growth with a greater susceptibility to disease.
Clear leaves and debris. It’s easy to allow leaves and debris to accumulate on lawns or turf in the winter, especially if the space is little used at the time. Debris on the lawn blocks light and air, very quickly causing damage to the turf underneath and creating more problems later on. Keep it clear with a light rake or blower. Now is also a good time to prune any trees or shrubs to improve light levels and air circulation.
Keep it sharp. All professional turf managers know the importance of a sharp mower blade but it can be overlooked in other situations. A clean cut is always best for the look and health of the turf. Anyone responsible for mowing their lawns should be encouraged to service their mower and maintain a sharp blade especially at this time of the year to reduce damage to the grass.
Wait for spring. Remember, the lawns ability to recover from any damage is very limited in the winter. The coming of spring will stimulate new growth and begin to restore the turf. If you have done all you can to look after and prepare your turf over the winter it will reward you with a rapid return to glory.
Velvit is a wholesale fertiliser supplier to the professional turf care industry. Contact us to find out more about our products or how to find your local distributor.