Winter 2019-2020 Lawn Diary
The Winter in a Nutshell
This is the last Lawn Diary until March next year: From December to the end of February there is little to do as growth will have all but stopped and frosts will become quite frequent. However, if you need to work off those Christmas calories start treating the moss early to control its growth by using liquid applications of our Green-Up Ferrous Sulphate, MossOff or Winter Green granular fertiliser which contains the active ingredient ferrous sulphate.
Main jobs this winter:
- Clearing leaves
- Applications of Moss control products
Last order date to get items before Christmas is midnight on Wednesday18th December. We are all back, heavier and poorer on Thursday 2nd January.
Extraordinarily wet hence the red weather alert. Some tips:
- In 'Alerts' there is some help on wet lawn survival tactics
- See also How to Mow Wet or Long Grass
- Expect a severe infestation of moss so consider inhibiting moss growth with moss killers and ferrous sulphate
- Worms will also be very active and casting can be reduced somewhat if you use ferrous sulphate products
- Be prepared for grass die back due to low light and saturation. See the Spring Recovery Plan
- An application of Winter Green during a mild spell will help replace some the nutrients leached out by excessive rain. Apply December to early February.
For the rest of the winter, frost is your lawns main enemy but only if you walk on the frosty grass. Do try and keep off because as soon as the frost goes you'll be left with your foot prints etched into the lawn. If it snows, DON'T pile snow on the lawn from the path, it'll bring on disease! And if you have enough snow for a snowman, distribute the snow over the lawn once the kids have finished with it; dead snowmen or snowwomen can leave a nasty mark in the lawn right through into spring if left. Here's the December long range forecast courtesy of the MET office:
Friday 29 Nov - Sunday 8 Dec
Friday looks to be a drier and brighter day for most areas. Early fog patches slow to clear in the north to start. Becoming cloudier in the far southwest with a chance of some rain later. Temperatures rather cold, especially in the north. Next weekend looks to be rather unsettled, with some sunny spells and showers, which could turn wintry even to low ground in the north. Cold or rather cold in the north, with widespread frost and ice likely, but perhaps mild for a time in the far south and southwest. The beginning of December looks to remain cold for many, as the potential for wintry showers in the north continues and may spread to higher ground in the south. The best chance of dry weather in the south/southeast.
Sunday 8 Dec - Sunday 22 Dec
The period is likely to begin on the cold side for most regions, with wintry showers at times in the north, and perhaps over high ground in the south. Widespread frosts and ice are also likely. There looks to be a change around mid-month to milder conditions, although the timing is very uncertain. This change looks likely to bring milder and wetter conditions across most parts of the UK, allowing temperatures to recover to around average, or perhaps slightly above. The wettest conditions are likely to be in the north and west, with an increased likelihood of drier spells in the south and southeast. Colder interludes are still possible, mainly in the north.
Apart from a very high topping to tidy up if conditions are dry you have finished with the mower for the year.
If you do fancy trimming the tops and the cooler wet weather has caused a resurgence of moss raise the mowing height so that at least 1/2" of grass shows above the moss after grass cutting.
If you no longer think you'll need the mower give it a good clean and a service. This is quite easy to do. See the section on mower Cleaning & Maintenance. The mower can be useful for sucking up leaves so if leaves are a problem service the machine in January. The mower service centres are usually quiet now so it's also a good time to get a service that won't be rushed - may even get a discount!
You should be done with autumn fertilising by now but if you want some extra ‘green' in the lawn consider a fertiliser containing low nitrogen but with good amounts of potassium and iron anytime from now till spring. Our WINTER GREEN is just such a fertiliser and should be used over winter if you've had a mild and/or wet autumn which will have used or leached out a lot of the nutrients, particularly if you're on sandy soil. To get the most from it apply it during a mild spell.
If fertiliser levels are good but you want to give the lawn a green up try one or two medium applications of Ferrous Sulphate. This is also useful to reduce worm activity which may be evident in the cooler wetter conditions and also incorporates nicely into your moss control programme.
Wait until spring
Many of you will be experiencing major problems with moss in the lawn now grass growth has just about stopped. For now you're too late to do doing anything as radical as scarifying as you'll be left with a much disfigured lawn.
Taking a gentler approach may well pay dividends however. Depending on how severe your moss problem is apply Ferrous Sulphate a.k.a Soluble Iron at about 4 to 5g per square metre once or twice (maximum three times) over the winter period. This will blacken the top layer thus blocking light from getting to the moss deeper down so temporarily halting growth. Alternatively one application of Winter Green over winter will have the same effect and can be supplemented with a Ferrous Sulphate application if moss is rampant due to a mild and/or wet winter. In spring you will have far less moss to rake out - many of you may not even need to do that!
Shouldn't be needed
Wait until spring
Wait until spring
Make sure conditions are not too wet, soft, frozen or frosty before working on the lawn. If the surface is firm then re-cutting edges is in order plus any repairs using turf.
Leaves: Regular collection is very important for grass health and to reduce moss, disease and worm activity.
Disease: It is only likely that fusarium or snow mould will be present at this time of year though it usually goes unnoticed by all but the most addicted lawnsmith! Fusarium can be a sign of poor turf health, high thatch levels, poor air circulation, compaction or just persistent wet conditions. If you do experience an attack it is usually of little consequence in a domestic lawn. Do look for possible causes though as you can resolve any problems ready for next year.
Worms: Though it's best to treat for worms at the first sign, they will continue to surface throughout the winter and produce muddy casts that cause mowing problems in the spring. Worms are beneficial in that they digest organic matter providing nutrients and enriching the soil. They also do some valuable aeration. A lawn with worms is generally far healthier than one without. Though only moderately reliable we still feel Ferrous Sulphate is the most cost effective way to reduce worm casting.
Wait until spring.
Wait until spring
If you've been waiting for cooler wetter weather for turfing them the time is ripe from now into March at least.
*Lawnsmith Products from this month:
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Have a great month and best wishes for the New Year