December 6, 2022

Banishing unwanted weeds this winter

As the winter months set in and your grass enters its dormant phase, it’s actually an excellent time of year to carry out a little lawn care.

That’s because winter weeds tend to stand out more obviously against the less verdant lawns of winter, making it easier to apply spot treatments or pull weeds out by the root.

Remember your grass is more delicate when it’s dormant, so try not to be too rough with it, and don’t expect any gaps to fill in naturally until the faster growth of spring.

Common winter lawn weeds

Dandelions and chickweed are both common throughout the UK, and should stand out as a fresh, healthy green colour against the paler yellow-green winter coat of your grass.

You can spot treat these with weedkillers – opt for organic weedkillers if you’re keen to avoid any residue soaking into your soil.

Individual weeds like dandelions can be removed from the lawn intact. Try to get as much of the root system as possible, to reduce the risk of a fresh crop growing back so quickly.

General winter lawn care

As well as tackling weeds specifically, the winter months are a good time to carry out some annual lawn care tasks, while your grass is dormant and flowerbeds are relatively empty.

Rake up the last fallen leaves for composting, as well as any remnants of autumn grass clippings, leaving your lawn clear of debris for its winter slumber.

Take the opportunity to neaten any edges along flowerbeds etc too, and give extra attention to any weeds and wildflowers encroaching onto the edges of your grass from beds and borders.

Welcome winter wildflowers

Not all wildflowers are unwelcome, so be careful that you don’t remove any bulbs that are waiting to bloom early in the new year.

Snowdrops in January, daffodils in February and bluebells in March can all grow directly out of the grass and bring a short but welcome splash of colour to the winter and early spring months – so consider devoting a quiet corner of your lawn to these welcome ‘weeds’.

You might even decide to let the ‘unwelcome’ weeds grow through in certain areas for a natural meadow effect, as plants like teasel can remain intact through the winter months and their seed heads can attract visitors like goldfinches, many of which overwinter in the UK.

Can you lay turf in winter?

If you urgently need to replace a weed-filled lawn with fresh turf (or you’re laying turf for any other reason) then yes, you can lay a turf lawn in winter.

The only rule here is that you shouldn’t lay turf on frozen ground or if it’s extremely wet. Other than that, the damp conditions of winter can actually help your turf to settle into its new home more easily.

After laying, you probably won’t need to water your lawn unless there’s a dry spell, and it shouldn’t need mowing until spring – just try not to walk on it when it’s frozen.

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