Winter is well and truly upon us. And along with the cooler temperatures, frosts and lingering fog, comes shorter days and less sunlight.
At this time of year, it is particularly important to consider the amount of shade on your lawn.
The less sunlight a lawn receives, the slower it will grow and the less resilient it will be.
In today's blog we have a few tips to help you minimise the impact of shade on your lawn this winter.
Water your lawn less frequently
By rule of thumb, as the temperature decreases, so should your watering.
When combined with shade, over watering will dramatically increase the possibility of rotting, disease and an overall unhealthy lawn.
If your lawn is in shade, it is best to water only when absolutely necessary and water deeply.
In many parts of Australia, winter rainfall should be sufficient to maintain your lawn through the cooler months.
In many cases, shady areas beneath trees and tall shrubs can be lightened up by pruning limbs.
When trimming your trees and shrubs, try to open up the canopy in order to minimise the shade they cast on your lawn and maximise the amount of sunlight that can penetrate through.
Adjust your mowing height
One of the most important steps you can take to help your lawn adjust to the cooler temperatures is to increase the height of your lawn mower. Try to never cut more than one-third of the leaf off at a time.
Keeping the mowing height nice and high will give your lawn the best chance to absorb sunlight and nutrients and help to improve the quality of your turf. A longer leaf will also block out weeds and help your lawn to retain its colour for longer.
A healthy lawn heading into winter will ensure it is better prepared for the cold and frost, and aid in a quicker spring recovery.
As a rough guide, you will only need to mow your lawn every few weeks during winter; this will differ depending on the turf variety you have.
While we recommend you leave your lawn longer, make sure you don’t let it grow too long either. If your lawn gets to 5-6cm long, it will prevent sunlight from properly penetrating the grass profile and might encounter scalping when it comes to mowing again. Scalping can result in browning of your lawn, which will leave it susceptible to disease and weeds.
It is also recommended in shady areas to remove clippings to allow as much light as possible to reach the soil.
Keep traffic to a minimum on dormant lawns or turf in shade
One sure fire way to wear your turf out, is continuous foot traffic during dormancy. For example, if you habitually walk daily to your clothes line, and you don’t have stepping stones or a path that leads to your clothes hanging destination, you might want to consider switching your route for a couple of months. This will prevent wear and tear on your lawn and help dormant lawn to spring back from the winter blues once soil temperatures increase and the warmer spring weather arrives!
Seasol is a friendly, easy way to help nurture your lawn through chilly winter periods.
Seasol provides a protective coating on the leaf and helps your lawn to cope with the stress of frost. We recommend giving your lawn one application now, in the third week of June, and then a second and third application in week one of both July and August for best results.
Oxafert is a preventative, pre-emergent herbicide and fertiliser easily applied in one single application. This miracle product is used for the control of many annual grasses and broad-leaf weeds in warm season turf, while also feeding your lawn. An application of Oxafert is critical to help prepare your lawn for summer and to negate seed germination of weeds.
Choose a shade tolerant turf variety
When planting a new lawn, one of the primary considerations is to determine the amount of shade you will have. It is necessary to think about any shade that may be caused by buildings and plants in different seasons now, and also into the future, and try to select the right type of lawn from the outset.
Soft Leaf Buffalo grasses like Sir Walter DNA Certified tend to survive the best in the shade, tolerating 50 to 70 percent shade. This is about three to four hours of direct sun each day, or speckled sunlight from trees for the majority of the day.
Sir Grange Zoysia is also a new highly shade tolerant turf variety which requires very low fertilising and inputs due to its extremely slow growth habitat. As a result, Sir Grange doesn’t require as much sunlight and is a good option for shady spots.
For more information on our turf varieties, and all the best advice to keep your lawn in top health this winter call the Coolabah team on 0399 990587.