Looking After Your Lawn in The Winter
Winter is here! Most of you in the Northern hemisphere have now put your Allett Mower to bed for the season and you will now be looking forward to Xmas. The temperature has fluctuated over the past few weeks and we have just this weekend had quite a heavy snowfall mixed in with Storm Arwen. If we get a thick covering of snow and the little people (or big people) in your life build snowmen make sure they build them off the grass if possible- no snow angels either! Snowmen can take a long time to defrost and melt away which can also cause disease. There are a lot of variables that affect your lawns hardiness to the cold weather such as the type of seed used, soils, mowing height, etc. Also, new lawns installed after late August or later may struggle if they haven't had much time to establish themselves. Be careful using salt on garden paths etc- make sure the type you use is not harmful to your lawn.
Damage to lawns is very rare, but something you should keep your eyes peeled for is snow mould. Snow mould is a fungal disease which can develop once the snow starts to melt.There are two types of snow mold: gray snow mold (also called Typhula blight) and pink snow mold (also called Microdochium patch or Fusarium patch).You will be more than likely to get snow mould in areas where there has been a high level of snow, or snow piled up from clearing driveways and paths. If your lawn does develop snow mould, your lawn will eventually recover when the temperature rises. Still, in a lot of cases, the snow mould will kill the grass underneath meaning you will need to re-seed or in aggressive instances in which the root is effected, re-turf.
Fusarium is another disease to look out for which is primarily a disease of fine or old turf generally occurring in the late autumn during prolonged damp weather and also in winter usually during a mild spell. It can be damaging because it kills the grass plants though you may end up with small infestations and not notice it. If you do notice it you will see small tennis ball size straw coloured spots. If your lawn is maintained regularly your lawn will be more resistant to snow mould and fusarium.
Prevention is the key- How to prevent snow mould
1) If snow is forecast mow your lawn before it comes using a cylinder mower. Extra-long grass is a breeding ground for gray snow mold.
2)Scarification/Aeration- As a cylinder mower user you should be scarifying at least once a month in the mowing season to keep thatch levels below an inch. Aeration is important to help with drainage.
3) Keep leaves off your lawn- Leaves can cause all sorts of issues on your lawn
Hopefully you will be scarifying once or twice a month in the summer with your spring rake scarifier cartridge. If not, we hope you have given your lawn a thorough scarifying session before putting your mower away for winter. Thick layers of thatch can cause serious drainage issues if we get a lot of rain over winter as the water has nowhere to go and just sits on top of the lawn. The recent snow-fall will cause similar issues as the snow melts. Water-logging can also occur when you have dry and compact ground so aeration is also key, in-fact aeration is one of the most under-rated lawn-care tasks.
Over the next few weeks and months, there will be more instances when the ground will freeze instead of seeing actual snowfall. Make sure that if frost has fallen, you keep off the lawn until the frost has thawed. If walked on, the leaf cells rupture and damage the individual blades of grass. This leaves unsightly footprints across your lawn, which will be noticeable when it thaws out and can take months to disappear completely. Under any circumstances do not mow in frosty conditions. Do not apply any lawn treatments such as fertiliser and weed killer when there is frost on the lawn. If we are having a mild winter you can continue mowing throughout on a high setting if the grass is growing.
Use the non mowing time in the winter months to get your Allett mower serviced by an approved Allett dealer. Make sure you keep on top of any leaf fall- the majority of leaves will now be off at the time of writing this.
Give all your tools a thorough clean and make sure they’re dry before you put them away. WD40 can be sprayed on your cylinder. Keep any batteries in your house out of the damp cold conditions. Make sure you use your lawn brush cartridge to sweep away any worm casts. Worms although a pest in terms of worm casts and attracting moles are great for drainage.
Find a video with Congleton Garden Machinery here where Director Stuart Meek runs you through an Allett homeowner mower service.