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Taking care of your lawn in winter

As with most plants in the garden, the care you put into your lawn in autumn and early winter will have a direct impact on its health come spring. Chances are you have a warm season grass type on your property such as couch, zoysia, kikuyu or buffalo and that means that your grass is starting its dormant phase.

It is now important to make some minor changes to your lawn care routine to accommodate its hibernation. The first adjustment is your watering schedule; if you are using a water computer, now is the time to reprogram it or perhaps even turn it off and water manually when needed. Overwatering is a waste of money and resources and, most importantly, can cause damage to your lawn since the chances of waterlogging are increased with the reduced hours of sunshine and warm weather to dry it away. 

Mowing frequency also needs to be reduced from now until spring which will probably suit your own somewhat hibernating state. For those of you using a traditional lawnmower, you can bring your mowing schedule down to every three to four weeks.

For owners of a robotic lawnmower, there is no need to put it away; you simply need to reduce your number of mowing days down to two or three per week. Regardless of your mower type, it is a good idea to raise your mower blades up; the added blade length will help with photosynthesis and therefore food supply. 

Now is a good time to inspect your blades to ensure that they are at their sharpest; your grass struggles with self-repair so more than ever you need to keep your cuts as clean as possible.

In your lawn’s weakened state, it will be less able to fight off weeds so keep an eye out for bindii, clover, dandelions, capeweed, cudweed and thistles. If dandelions are an eyesore for you then a weeding trowel is your best bet. For the others, you may choose to hand weed or use herbicides; if you chose the latter make sure to pick one that suits your specific grass. 

Soon it will be spring and your lawn will be back to its old self again.

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