THE clocks have gone back and the days are getting shorter, and with more wet weather on its way it can be hard to know when is the best time to get out in the garden to cut the grass.
According to the gardening experts, you can ditch your lawnmower until spring as cutting the grass may cause more damage than good when it comes to your lawn.
The gardening guru Monty Don advised in his latest blog: "Keep cutting the grass for as long as it keeps growing, however it is better to have the grass too long than too short over the winter months.”
Now you might well think you’re neglecting your lawn if you leave it to grow too long throughout the winter, but with fewer daylight hours, experts like Monty agree that it’s the best way to protect your soil from the damaging effects of the harsh weather.
A fan of Monty Don and a gardening expert himself, Morris Hankinson explains Monty's reasons and the benefits of keeping taller grass during winter.
He said: “Longer grass can actually act as a natural insulator for the soil beneath it.
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“This insulation helps protect the roots of the grass from extreme temperature fluctuations, keeping them healthier during the colder months.
“And, as the grass blades break down, they return valuable organic matter to the soil, which improves soil health over time,” he explains.
If you’re worried that your garden might transform into a forest if you pack the lawnmower away for winter, think again.
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With limited daylight hours, grass growth will begin to slow now until spring as the grass enters what gardeners like Monty call the ‘dormant period.’
In fact, the minimum temperature required for the grass plant to grow is around 8 to 10 degrees Celsius.
With Monty’s stellar advice, it really is a win-win situation.
One less thing for you to do this winter, and with no guilt involved, you can kick back with a cuppa and let nature do its thing.
But if like many you want to be proactive to increase your lawn's chances of flourishing next spring, then there are some things Monty Don suggests you can do.
“Keep gathering fallen leaves, mowing them, keeping them damp and storing in a bay or bin bags to make leaf mould," says Monty.
However, do be mindful because if the leaves are too wet they will clog your lawnmower up.
Monty suggests: “try and sweep and rake them into a line when dry, run the mower over them and then give them a soak with the hose.”
If you don’t have anywhere dry to store your gathered leaves then you can pop your leaves into a black bin liner.
Monty adds: “Punch a few drainage holes in the bottom, soak them and let it drain and then store it out of sight. This system works perfectly well,” he explains.
Just because it's cold, doesn't mean you have to stop planting.
In fact, this may be your last chance to plant as the soil will harden over the next six weeks.
“Continue planting spring bulbs but wait another month for tulips” says Monty.
Bring tender plants in
If you haven’t already, bring the tender plants inside to protect them from the frost.
“In my garden this includes Bananas, salvias, citrus, pomegranates, olives, pelargoniums, succulents, fuchsias, eucomis and hedychium but NOT dahlias and cannas, which can be left in situ until the first signs of frost damage have affected them”, says Monty.
Clean and service lawn mower
Redirect your attention from your lawn to your lawn mower because if there ever was a time to give your lawn mower a good once-over before packing it away – it's now.
“Wash it down and scrape off any encrusted grass.
"Drain any petrol from the tank.
"Check all screws and bolts to ensure they are properly tightened.
"Oil the blades and all moving parts and unless it is running and cutting exceptionally well take it for a service,” advises Monty.
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Another gardening pro shares her tips for plant growers on how to prepare their backyard for the winter.
Meanwhile, a lawn expert shares a key gardening task you need to do now for your grass to survive winter.
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