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As winter approaches and the air and soil temperature drops, grass growth slows down. By the middle of the winter season the grass is almost completely dormant, hibernating until things warm up again and the soil has replenished its nutrients ready for a flourishing green explosion.

That’s not to say that your lawn won’t stay green all winter – there may be less warmth and shorter daylight hours, but there’s still ample water and humidity. Believe it or not our winters are relatively mild (most of the time, anyway), our soil is fertile and the turf types we grow here in the UK thrive all year round – these are all factors that make Britain’s grass greener no matter what the time of year.

Maintaining a lawn through the winter months doesn’t take much effort, so you won’t be forced out into the cold to tend to it. However, there are some things to keep an eye on and consider for the welfare of your lawn while it slumbers.

Watch out for Weeds

Just like the grass, cold weather makes weeds fall dormant, but there are some tough, frost-hardy weeds that can still be found in the winter months to spoil your lawn. Watch out for bittercress, chickweed, lamium, docks and herb bennet.

Moderate the Mowing

There are mixed opinions on whether you should mow your lawn at all in the winter months, but on milder winter days – as long as there’s no frost or the ground isn’t too wet – there’s no harm in giving it a tidying trim. If you do mow during the winter set the cutting height to as high as possible, to minimise turf stress. Make sure, too that you collect up all the grass clippings – clumps of dead, wet grass on the lawn block out the light and provide the perfect place for fungi to grow.

Rake up Debris

An important winter gardening task is to keep the lawn free of fallen leaves and debris, using a light rake. At the same time avoid walking on the lawn if it’s wet or frosty, because this can damage the blades of grass. Piles of leaf debris, and even piles of snow, can encourage diseases like Fusarium (Snow Mould), which leaves circular yellow patches.

Look out for Puddles

If you notice water puddles appearing on your lawn after heavy winter rainfall it’s a sign that the soil has become compacted, meaning there isn’t much air getting to the root system of the grass. There’s not much to be done immediately, but in early spring use an aerator or garden fork to relieve the compaction to aid healthy growth.

Moss Control

All lawns in the UK are susceptible to moss during our long, dark winters. It’s unsightly, and is usually a sign of an unhealthy lawn which is compacted, lacks aeration and has poor drainage. Moss should not be tackled during the coldest months – it’s best dealt with in autumn when commercial moss killing products (some are combined with fertilisers) can be used, and the lawn can be scarified (vigorously raked) to remove the moss.

Winter is generally a time when your garden is left to fend for itself, but you can always make use of the extra time on your hands by planning for the coming growing season, and making sure your gardening tools are in tip-top condition.