The best time to water lawn in winter and prepare varies greatly in South Africa. Some areas experience mild, frost-free winters. However, Highveld, Free State winters can get extremely cold. These areas are also very dry in winter.
Conditions like this can wreck your carefully manicured lawn. Winter can leave you with a dry and dusty patch where your lawn used to be, unless you have a lawn that is indigenous to your area. At best, you will have to prepare for dry, brittle, grass where your green lawn used to be.
You can’t stave off winter. However, you can take some well-timed precautions to minimise the damage to your lawn from the cold and frost. Preparing your lawn for these conditions and knowing the bets time to water a lawn in winter will lessen the effort and of time needed to restore your garden grass in spring.
The following are the most important steps that you can take to help your lawn survive winter.
Winter lawn preparation:
- Remove debris: Rake your lawn to get rid of autumn leaf litter, twigs, debris, 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.
- Fertilise one last time: Help your lawn get the most out of the last growing weeks with a layer of lawn fertiliser. Organic fertiliser is always best.
- Stop mowing the lawn: Let the grass grow longer than you usually in 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.
If you live in an area with no frost, estimate the time according to date. Or ‘play it by eye’. You should mow for the last time at least a month before the grass stops growing. You should also time the last mow before the lawn gets brown and patchy if you live in a very dry winter area. Letting the grass grow a little longer than usual just before winter will help your lawn withstand drought, cold and the short days.
Best Time to Water Lawn in Winter
While winter conditions can vary from mild to extremely cold and dry, taking care of your lawn during this season is essential to prevent damage and maintain its health. One crucial aspect of winter lawn care is proper watering. Here’s the best time to water your lawn in winter.
1. Water in the morning: The ideal time to water your lawn during winter is in the morning, preferably between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. This allows the grass blades to dry before nightfall, reducing the risk of fungal diseases caused by prolonged moisture.
2. Avoid watering in the evening: Watering your lawn in the evening can lead to extended periods of dampness, which can promote the growth of fungal diseases. It’s best to allow your lawn to dry out before nighttime temperatures drop.
3. Adjust watering frequency: In winter, lawns generally require less water due to reduced evaporation and slower growth. You should adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Water your lawn once a week, monitoring the moisture level and adjusting if necessary.
4. Water deeply and infrequently: Instead of frequent shallow watering, it’s important to water deeply but infrequently during winter. This encourages the roots to grow deeper into the soil, making the grass more resilient and drought resistant.
5. Check for signs of dryness: Regularly inspect your lawn for signs of dryness, such as wilted or discoloured grass blades. If you notice these signs, it’s an indication that your lawn needs watering. Remember to water deeply enough to reach the root zone.
6. Consider weather conditions: While some areas experience dry winters, keep an eye on the weather forecast. If there are extended periods without rainfall, you may need to supplement with additional watering to prevent your lawn from becoming excessively dry.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your lawn receives the necessary moisture during winter. Proper watering, combined with the other winter lawn care steps mentioned in the article, will help minimize damage and keep your lawn healthy and green until spring arrives.