Managing a rental garden

Winter Lawn Care Tips For Aussie Gardeners

by Glen Shelton

The secret to a beautiful summer lawn lies in the care you give it during the run up to winter.  Australian lawns typically use warm season grasses.  These species grow rapidly and regularly during warm weather and then become dormant when the weather gets colder.  This means that the grass plants are less able to repair damage and re-grow, leaving them vulnerable to disease. 

Here's how to help your lawn cope with its winter hibernation so that you can enjoy a lush, green sward when spring eventually arrives.

Mowing your lawn

Mowing your lawn stimulates growth and should only be carried out during the spring and summer months when the grass plants are active.  Reduced winter daylight hours and lack of sunshine reduces the ability of grass to photosynthesise, meaning that more leaf is required in order to make the most of what light is available.

Increasing your mowing height will keep your lawn tidy, while still allowing it to grow as best it can during the winter.  All you need to do is take up the blade height on your machine by a notch or two.  This applies whether you have an expanse of grass and a ride-on mower or a more modest patch.


The decrease in soil temperature over the winter means that moisture held there won't evaporate as quickly as it does during hot weather.  For this reason, you should take care not to overwater your lawn as this can encourage thatch to rot and could cause turf diseases to attack the grass plants.

Overhanging bushes and trees can create patches of shade that prevent evaporation.  Prune back problem areas to prevent waterlogging and discourage moss growth.

Remove Wintergrass and kill weeds

Wintergrass can strangle the grass roots over the winter and should be treated to prevent it from damaging your lawn.  You can buy treatments that will kill Wintergrass from good garden centres, raking out the dead stuff with a fine spring-tined rake and burning it.

Your lawn's vigorous summer growth is its best defence against broad-leafed weeds as the grass roots effectively crowd out the weeds.  During the winter time, weeds can push through and grab a foothold in your lawn.  The application of a good weed killing product can help to keep weeds at bay, giving your lawn the best chance of staying healthy during the winter.

Feeding the lawn

You should give your lawn a boost by feeding it with a winter fertiliser a few weeks before the weather begins to cool down.  Look for a winter fertiliser that contains high levels of iron for maximum benefit.

In conclusion

You can look forward to a beautiful green lawn this spring by ensuring that your grass is well-prepared for the winter.  Follow the tips given above for a lush, healthy lawn.