OK, so what happened to winter? And what does this mean for your lawn?
I’m no spring chicken (but not that old) and I’m a traditionalist when it comes to many things I enjoy in life. But that doesn’t make me old-fashioned. So when a new day dawns and the world appears an even stranger and more unpredictable place, I don’t panic. I know that the really important things will always evolve and survive. And it’s just the same with grass.
So, we’ve had a weird winter – mild and windy with excessive rainfall, and no bug-killing frosts to speak of. And I know this means many a gardener will be fretting: “the bluebells will come too early; the apples won’t set this year; the veggies will be inundated with disease…”. Now, I wouldn’t offer a comment on that as I’m a lawn expert, not a garden expert (and I wish some garden experts would repay the compliment!). But I will say this – your lawn will be absolutely fine this year despite the lack of traditional winter weather. And here’s why.
Yes, your lawn’s had it tough. Looking back at 2015 there was a short summer drought for many of us, then a very warm and extended autumn; and then of course the rain, wind, rain and more rain…
But grass has had millions of years to adapt to changing environments. So, whilst it may take a while to get back into shape this year, it will – and this is because those millions of years have created one of our most resilient plants. There’s only one caveat, however. You do need to look after it properly; more on this in a moment.
Let’s see how well lawns stand up to our weather.
- They may lose a bit of colour in a drought. But the colour always returns.
- They may go squelchy when ridiculous amounts of rain fall on them. But their natural filtration system will always balance this out.
- They may shut down in cold snaps. But as soon as photosynthesis resumes, they start to grow again.
The one thing that all this crazy weather can bring is a greater chance of disease and pests. But again, a properly-maintained natural lawn is more than capable of coping with those. And what do I mean by a ‘natural lawn’? Well certainly not waist-high meadows (although they are beautiful and important too); I mean lawns that are in balance with nature.
So, what do you need to do when the weather does daft things?
Learn to understand how lawns ‘work’. Then you’ll know what to do. For example:
If it’s hot – raise the cutting height to create a bigger grass canopy, keeping the roots cooler. Simple.
If it’s becoming consistently wetter – remember to add a little more aeration into your lawn care to keep the water moving through the soil profile.
If it’s icy cold – keep off the lawn.
And invest in a good guide (like my book, Modern Lawn Care) which will enable you to maintain a really happy and healthy lawn in only a few hours a month – a lawn that will always bounce back, whatever the weather throws at it.
Parting advice – if you’re still basing your lawn care around tools like a springbok rake and a garden fork, you really do need to get my book! Right now is the best time to read it and prepare for your simple and effective natural lawn care in the months ahead this year.