- December 2, 2015
- By Mike
- In Aeration, Lawns, Soil
Many lawns start to look thin and weak at this time of year. Heavy rain tends to compact the surface of a lawn as does walking on it when wet many finer fescues die back and brown. So over the winter its best to stay off the lawn when it is wet especially on clay soils or if there is a frost. Walking on a frozen lawn does an awful lot of damage to the plants. And is a prime cause of yellowing in winter. When frozen leaf blades are stepped upon they snap and the cells collapse and shut down. Once this happens the plant stops supplying nutrients to the leaves which have snapped turning yellow/brown. This weakens the plants resilience to attack from disease especially if they do not have sufficient nutrients to fight an infection.
In a normal year you should have finished your final cut and put the mower away for winter. However this year has been exceptionally warm with only morning frosts yet balmy evenings. Lawns are still growing so you may want to get another high setting cut in before servicing and putting the mower away. Its important to clean the mower deck after use with a hose as autumn winter are prime periods for fungal infections in lawns. So ensure your mower blade is sharp for a clean cut.
Aeration will help surface drainage and is an important winter job. The second most important job is to ensure the lawn has sufficient light levels. Remove leaves regularly so grass plants can photosynthesis, if need be its a great time to prune trees and shrubs so you can carry out any crown reductions or thinning to enable more light through canopy’s to reach the lawn next year.
Leaves that are left on lawns tend to cause bald patches which are very noticeable in spring, of course if left the leaves will begin to mulch and decompose but just like thatch can become a habitat and breeding ground for fungal diseases that can damage your lawn. So its best to remove and compost leaves which can be used as a top mulch in spring for beds and boarder plants or burnt in an incinerator.
Burning the leaves is a great way to a manage a green space and prevent infections spreading. The potash waste of the burnt material becomes (Potassium). Potassium is used by all plants to fight disease so can be spread around shrubs and under hedges as a light dressing which will slowly works its way through the soil.