Yes, we know. It’s cold out there! Us gardeners are the first ones to notice the change in winds, the subtle drop in temperature as the days grow colder and now… boom! Winter has officially moved into our homes and gardens, here to stay for the next two months like an old family friend who you knew was coming, but secretly hoped their flights got delayed. We’re in this together.
C’est la vie! Maintaining a lush and vibrant lawn during the winter months may seem like a challenge, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can ensure your grass stays healthy and ready to flourish come spring. AND DO NOTE: It’s very normal for certain grass varieties to turn brown during winter. Your lawn is just hibernating.
So, for this informative blog post, we will explore various aspects of winter lawn care, including climate types, grass types, disease identification, infestation prevention, and essential winter garden tasks. We’ll also highlight the benefits of using Garden Master and Trimtech tools to simplify your winter lawn maintenance routine. So, grab a nice hot drink, settle into a chair that’s perfectly positioned to get that afternoon sun as you look out onto your garden, and enjoy!
Understanding Winter Grass Types
Different grass types have varying levels of resilience during the colder months. Winter in South Africa presents two distinct climates: cold and wet, and cold and dry. While the interior regions experience dry and cold weather, the Western Cape enjoys more moderate winters with regular rainfall. Coastal areas generally have a moderate climate with consistent precipitation.
When it comes to selecting grass varieties for South African gardens, five common options are favoured: Kikuyu, Buffalo, LM Berea, Bermuda, and Gulf Green. Usually, you will see these grass types next to the road, stacked on top of each other, a sign stuck on top and the abbreviations reading: ‘KK’; ‘LM’; ‘GG’ etc.
It’s essential to choose the most suitable grass type for your lawn as different varieties thrive under specific conditions. While these grass types flourish in full sun, some exhibit better tolerance for shaded areas than others.
- Fast-growing, vigorous grass which needs good soil, plenty of fertilising and water.
- Kikuyu can withstand dry spells and foot traffic.
- Plant in sunny positions and it can grow in light shade.
- Tends to invade flower beds and paved or tarred areas.
- The variety is not too waterwise though, so if you’re restricted, do keep this in mind.
LM BEREA (LM)
- Shade tolerant: This can make up for the shady spots that KK can’t grow in and tolerate up to 80% shade.
- Set your lawn mower to the maximum height setting when cutting grass in the shady areas of your lawn. Check out the Trimtech 2200 W Electric Lawnmower if you’re shopping for something new, versatile and perfect for the job.
- More expensive than Kikuyu.
- Slow-growing grass but requires significantly less water.
- Will grow in either full sun or part shade (will grow in up to 60% shade).
- It does not require much fertilising or cutting, and the soil can be light, heavy, damp or dry. Therefore, a great choice for the interior dry regions of South Africa.
- Grows fast in summer and slower in winter.
- Best suited for sunny spots and light sandy soils.
- It can also grow on heavier textured soils.
- Does not require as much feeding, watering or cutting as Kikuyu. Also a good choice for the dryer regions in the country.
- Quick growing and ideal for manicured areas of lawn.
- Loves water and responds well to traffic.
- Best suited for the wet Western Cape winter, as it keeps its colour and soft texture throughout the cold months.
- Not for the dryer interior regions in the winter and does not grow well in frost areas.
GARDEN MASTER EVERGREEN SUN LAWN
- Perfect for areas that get sun and shade.
- Comes in seed packs of 500g
- Available at Makro and Builders
- Check it out here
If you’re struggling with a spot that just does not want to embrace the lawn life, use it as a creative challenge to incorporate a flower bed, stepping stones, water feature, or a colourful potted area that can add cool textures and life to that part of your garden. Have a look at our flexible edging and neat fencing solutions here.
Hydration, irrigation, and fertilisation
Maintaining a healthy winter lawn can be challenging. Ensure proper moisture levels without over-hydrating. Manage irrigation to prevent root rot (you don’t want water to form pools in parts of the garden) and adjust watering based on climate.
Proper fertilisation is crucial throughout all the seasons. In winter, use a phosphate-rich fertiliser (such as a 2:3:2 ratio) to stimulate root development. During warmer months, switch to a nitrogen-rich fertiliser to encourage lush leaf growth. Remember to water your lawn thoroughly after applying fertiliser. Add this Bio Fertiliser to your shopping list
According to Lawn Care Plus, when it comes to winter lawn preparation it’s also important to add these tasks to your to-do list:
Remove debris: Rake your lawn to get rid of autumn leaf litter, twigs, detritus, and weeds. Do this diligently until the lawn area is free of any debris and other plant matter that might outgrow the lawn over winter. This is an essential task in the prep process!
Fertilise one last time: Help your lawn get the most out of the last growing weeks with a layer of lawn fertiliser. Try the Garden Master organic lawn dressing for the best results.
Stop mowing the lawn: Let the grass grow a little longer during the last couple of weeks before the real cold of mid-winter sets in. If you live in an area that gets frost, time this to a few weeks before the first frost.
Pests and diseases
We’re not done yet! During the next few months, it’s important to keep an eye on your lawn and be wary of any unusual or unnatural growth – or lack thereof. Wintergrass is a common lawn pest during winter. It is an effective invader that grows healthily, particularly in shady areas or where it is damp. It is a light green, finely leafed grass that spreads and causes damage if left unattended. Wintergrass has a web-like, shallow root system that chokes the root system of a lawn. Some experts claim to root it out and bury it beneath the soil where it will die and form part of the soil again.
If you’re looking to really up your lawn-loving skill beyond winter, have a look at the Trimtech 2600W Electric Mulch Lawnmower here.