By now you would have noticed your lawn is growing slower and requiring less mowing. The warm season grasses we grow in Perth do slow their growth rate as the temperatures fall and the days become shorter but they are still growing just slowly. We recommend the following to keep your lawn green and healthy throughout winter.
The winter sprinkler ban for home lawns and gardens starts 1st June but you can still hand water your lawn if required. Continue to check your lawn regularly to determine if watering is required. If the top 100mm of your lawn is wet do not water. Remember to check areas under heavy canopied trees and eaves that block the rain.
We recommend fertilising at the start of each season. At the start of winter fertilise your lawn with a slow release product containing Nitrogen to keep it green, Potassium to help your lawn withstand the cold stress of winter and Phosphorous to strengthen the root system. This will help your lawn retain colour and health throughout winter. We recommend Eco-Growth Eco-Prime Purple as it contains the right balance of nutrients to feed and maintain your lawn plus the phosphorus is present in a soft rock form that does not leach into our water ways.
Foliar fertilising is also a great option at this time of year as the nutrients can be taken up directly by the plant leaf and provides a fast result. Seaweed based products are also great to apply at this time of year if you want to give your lawn an extra bit of support to cope with the cold.
Fertilising is particularly important for Empire Zoysia to ensure colour is maintained through the colder months. If your lawn is lacking in colour please contact us to discuss the fertilising needs of your lawn.
Weeds rob your grass of valuable nutrients, attract pests and diseases and can reduce the visual appeal of your lawn. Unlike warm season grasses winter weeds thrive in the colder weather and can grow very quickly. Manually remove weeds as they appear ensuring you remove any seeds, the root system and any underground bulbs to prevent regrowth. For hard to manage weed problems please contact us for further advice.
Sunlight is vital to all lawns. In the cooler months with increased cloud cover, less direct sunlight and shorter daylight hours we recommend the following;
- Set your mower to cut higher than you would in summer to increase the amount of leaf area available to absorb the sunlight.
- Never take more than one third of the total leaf length off. Always retain some green leaf.
- Remove sun blocking objects such as shade sails and tree branches where possible and from the lawn surface rake up leaves to increase the amount of sunlight available to your lawn.
The winter months are a great time to thoroughly service all your lawn care equipment. Ensuring cutting blades are sharp is particularly important at this time of the year. As grass growth slows down so does the ability to recover from diseases and pests. Keep your cuts clean to reduce the risk of these problems and reduce the amount of growth energy your plant needs to divert to cut recovery.
The combination of heavy rains and slower recovery from traffic during winter often causes the soil below your lawn to become compacted. Decompaction/aerating/coring can be carried out at any time of the year. You can test if your lawn needs decompacting by doing a “screwdriver test”. Try pushing a large screwdriver in to the ground. If it does not go in easily to 150mm we recommend decompacting.
If you are considering installing a new lawn or repairing bare patches, winter is a great time to do it. Over winter bare patches in lawns like Buffalo and Empire Zoysia are unlikely to cover and weeds can become a problem. With reduced evaporation rates and free rain to water your lawn you will save on establishment water costs. Your lawn will slowly put down roots over the wet season and these roots will be in place to chase down after the water in the ground when the rains have finished. When spring arrives your lawn will be in place and ready to take off.
To minimise frost damage, when a frost is predicted programme your sprinklers to come on for 2 minutes just before sunrise to melt ice crystals on the blade of grass to avoid frost burn. Just remember to check water restrictions with the Water Corp in your area.