Lawn "hibernation"

From about January to March – in certain countries of course earlier or later – our lawn enters into a kind of "hibernation" and there are a few things that need to be observed so that the lawn awakens in its full splendour in the spring. What happens when the ground freezes and what is the best way to deal with a covering of snow? VIKING Gardening Time explains.

Frost and snow
As soon as the lawn is covered in frost, it becomes particularly sensitive. It is common knowledge that it should not be walked on or overstressed during this time. When the lawn is covered with snow, an insulating effect results, which protects the grass blades against frost and icy winds. No matter how long the snow remains on the ground, let it lie! And once again, avoid walking on the lawn if possible.

For families with children, this is not always so easy. Children sometimes give little regard to the tender grass blades, which get broken during play in the garden. Grass blades react very sensitively as they consist of up to 80 percent water. If grass blades break, the moisture freezes under frosty conditions and the blades slowly die. This damage cannot be repaired, as no growth takes place during the winter months. The results are visible following the first snowmelt. Yellow-brown footprints or entire areas in which fungal diseases such as snow mould and Typhula rot readily spread remain visible.

Tips for garden design
It is therefore recommendable, especially for families with children, to include a playing area with harder-wearing grass than required for a beautiful, neat ornamental lawn in the garden design.  For the ornamental lawn, decorative paths with stepping stones not only look good, but have the additional advantage that the lawn is protected and shoes stay dry.

Spring awakening
In order that families also have a beautiful, green lawn for recreation and play, fertilising can already be performed on frost-free days, once growth has begun.  Here, mostly nitrogen-based lawn fertilisers should be used in order to stimulate grass growth. Because the more severely the lawn is stressed during the winter time, the more nutrients it requires.  You can find more on the subject of fertilising here.

Tip: Those who have decided to install a water sprinkler system in their garden under the lawn this year, should perform this work during the frost-free days before grass growth has begun.