Does grass grow in the winter?

It is quite natural for folk to think that grass won’t grow in the winter; subsequently, they give up on the garden, retire their mowers to the shed, and slump in an armchair for the season with a mug of hot chocolate and a boxed set of Game Of Thrones.

However, grass doesn’t know it’s winter unless it’s cold and this year is a case in point. As an example, I spent my Christmas in what used to be known as ‘The West Country’ and Christmas day for us was more chilled prosecco than mulled wine…it was sunny, temperate and, most of all, lush and green!

So yes. Grass will continue to grow if conditions are right.

Climate change specialist Dr Tim Sparks was quoted recently in the Daily Mail online on just this subject, saying “Because the temperatures are remaining up there’s still lots of activity and growth. Lawns are still growing and people are still mowing, and the trees are unseasonably green.

In fact, a large percentage of lawn owners recently have found that they need to use their lawnmowers between November and February, and even some councils have been trimming the grass on public verges and in parks.

So if the temperature stubbornly refuses to drop below 5° and there is a balance of sun and rain, you may well find you have to do some judicious and careful trimming even in the winter months. Bearing in mind that this month’s average sits around 5.9°, it might be time to neaten up your winter sward with a new lawnmower.

You won’t need to mow as often as you do in the summer, an occasional trim should do it.

But how low should you go? Remember, despite the temperature, it is not spring or summer yet and you should make sure the cut is not too low as you can damage and stress out the turf.

Try cutting higher than you would in the height of summer, probably at a height of around 40mm or slightly more. This will keep the grass trim and neat without causing damage to the vulnerable turf.

Whatever mower you own is probably fine for this task, like a standard rotary or hover, although a cylinder mower might just be a little fine and precise for the task. Having the choice of a slightly higher adjustment of 40mm plus might be preferable.

In any case, your mower will need to have a decent range of heights available, as you need to set the correct height.  Any mower which can be adjusted above 30mm is adequate.

Don’t mow grass areas immediately after heavy or long spells of rain when water is still near the surface as it can damage the lawn, with both your mower and your footsteps causing harm to the turf. Leave it a day or two and you ought to be fine.

Never mow when frost is on the ground. Choose a mild day and cut in the middle of the day so the morning dew has dissipated and grass is dryer, making collection easier.

Make sure your blades are good and sharp so you can minimise damage to the lawn and try to cut in one even pass up and down.

Oh, and if you are going to ignore all this and insist on hibernating, make sure your lawnmower is stored clean, dry and, if it’s a petrol model, empty!

For details of our top 50 winter mower deals, click here.

 

Updated May 2018

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