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« Forum for discussing lawns in the United Kingdom | Main | Moss - What is it? »

Winter Recovery of The Lawn

Frosty_grassThe majority of the country is currently having frosts at night and this frost is now getting into the ground, making it hard to a depth. It will take a few warm days to get the frost out of the ground or the occasional rain shower.

You should never walk on a frosty lawn otherwise your footprints will snap off the tops of the frozen grass blades leaving brown grass blade tips once the frost has cleared from the lawn like footprints in the sand on the beach.


You may think that the grass stops growing in the winter months. It does not completely stop growing but slows to an extent where the metabolism of the grass plant is barely moving. A frosty night normally leads to warmish days with some winter sunshine and maybe a cold wind chill.

It is during this period that so long as there is no frost on the ground nor the ground frozen or soft when it is good practice to re discover the mower in the shed, blow off the dust and set the mower blades to 25mm or higher and to mow the grass to tidy it up. You should get around 25% of the normal amount of grass that you would get off it in the autumn months. You will get a natural greening up of the grass and the actions of the mower should stimulate additional vegetative growth that may need to be removed with the mower once again in two to three weeks time.

After a couple of winter cuts, and if it looks like the frosts are diminishing, or it is unseasonably mild, you should start considering a spring nutrient tonic. A little detective work on the potential weather conditions likely in the next few weeks may be necessary before proceeding. Autumn and Winter fertilisers are good to apply. Low in Nitrogen and high in Phosphorus and Potassium and maybe some Iron to add some quick colour to the lawn.

Keep up with the mowing when the prevailing weather allows you to as this will get the lawn out of the winter doldrums quicker.

At the start of March, albeit subject to the weather once again, you can think about applying Lawn Sand which is a mixture of dried sand, Sulphate of Iron and Sulphate of Ammonia. This product is typically sold to kill moss rather than a spring lawn tonic. Sadly Lawn Sand is often the only nutrients the lawn ever receives throughout the year which is why some lawns are so poor!

Instead of using Lawn Sand, you could apply a straight Sulphate of Iron in a soluble form which will promote rapid greening up, kill the moss without creating a rush of vegetative growth too early in the season. This form of Iron or Ferrous Sulphate as it is also known can be applied little and often to lawns as an Autumn to early Spring lawn tonic.

Image: Daily Mail

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