You would think, wouldn’t you, that once the mower has been serviced and put away for the winter, that your lawn has stopped growing. Wrong. The grass blades may not be growing very fast, but they are alive and they are photosynthesising. The roots will almost certainly keep growing through the winter months. And what do living, growing things need? They need nourishment.
Feed your lawn in winter for stronger spring growth
UK lawns have to cope with some challenging weather conditions in winter. No more so than in Scotland where it’s not unusual to experience all four seasons in the space of one day.
Just because the surface of your lawn is frozen, doesn't mean that the roots aren't still busy growing under the ground. That's why it's vital to ensure that the plants have access to the correct nutrients during challenging weather
When the air is cold enough to bite your nose in winter, the temperature beneath the surface of the soil is quite mild. That’s where the grass roots are sitting. They’re taking advantage of not being called upon to supply food to growing grass blades. It’s almost as though they are on a spa holiday, recovering from the previous growing season and gaining strength for the next one.
At this time of year, they need the right nutrients to build strong cell walls, replace weak or dead roots and grow deeper into the soil. That way, come spring, the roots can support really strong growth above the ground.
Strong roots make for better disease resistance
Lawn diseases such as fusarium love mild damp conditions. This disease is seen most often in autumn and spring but it also thrives underneath snow. Hence it’s common name “snow mould”. A healthy well-fed lawn with strong roots is more likely to shrug off fungal disease. It will certainly recover quicker if it does get a dose of fusarium.
What to feed your lawn in winter
That title should really read what NOT to feed your lawn in winter. From the end of September until the beginning of March (make that the end of August if you are gardening in Scotland). Do not put nitrogen on your lawn. It’s like feeding fast food to children that don’t play sport. They get big but not strong.
If you have stocks of spring/summer lawn feed in your shed, pop them into an air-tight container and store them safely until next spring. What you need right now is a good autumn/winter lawn feed.
Autumn Winter lawn feed should contain Phosphorous and Potassium.
Phosphorus is vital for plant metabolism. It helps the plants to convert other nutrients into cells, hormones and enzymes – in fact everything that it needs to grow. When phosphorus is in short supply your lawn may take on a very slight purple tinge and the plants will be smaller and weaker.
Potassium is another macronutrient. It’s considered second only to nitrogen in its importance for plants. The role of potassium in plants is similar to the role of salt in people, it helps balance the water content of the plant, stop wilting in summer, ensures essential nutrients are carried around the whole plant (roots and leaves!).
In winter time, your lawn uses phosphorus and potassium for healthy root growth, disease resistance and frost resistance.
Where to buy autumn-winter lawn feed
Most garden centres will stock special autumn-winter lawn feed or you can buy online here.
Want more lawn care tips? Follow us on Facebook