Spring might be around the corner, but the chill factor and icy temperatures are still here. Often, this can cause havoc on our beautiful gardens, and if your evergreen lawn is now covered in glistening ice, you could benefit from these tips.
While it may seem like the end of days for your lush grass, there are some things you can do to protect your lawn from winter damage. According to gardening experts, these essential lawncare tips will ensure a healthy garden, and a better chance at survival during the colder months.
So if you want to know how to protect your lawn and keep it in top shape, follow these five lawncare tips to beat the frost.
1. Never try to ‘defrost’ your lawn
Although it might be tempting to try to defrost your lawn while salting your garden paths, never apply this to frosted grass. What’s more, if the temperatures are still low, applying water can cause even more damage to your lawn.
“Walking on icy steps or a frozen driveway can be dangerous, and a sprinkling of salt can be really effective at melting ice and frost,” says Suhail Patel, gardens expert and founder of Luxury Screens (opens in new tab). “However, you should always avoid using salt on an icy garden as this can damage some plants, particularly evergreens, and prevent regrowth.” It's always best to leave your lawn alone, and just allow it to defrost naturally.
2. Keep off the grass
We often assume that frost alone can ruin lawns, however, it’s only once you walk on the grass that the damage occurs. This is because any pressure applied on a frosty lawn will cause the frozen grass leaves to break, and potentially damage the root systems. In addition, the grass blades are extremely delicate during the winter, and lack strength.
“Although the crunch of boots on frozen grass and plants may be satisfying, it’s not such good news for your greenery,” advises Patel. “Walking on icy or frozen soil can easily damage plants right down to the root as well as compacting the soil and thereby cutting off the water necessary to keep your plants healthy.“
To reduce the risk of damage, avoid walking on your lawn whilst frosty, and wait until it’s completely thawed.
3. Keep your lawn clear
Always clear your lawn of dead leaves, branches or other garden debris when frost hits. Typically, leaving wet leaves on your lawn in frosty weather will create the ideal breeding ground for ‘snow mold’ to develop. This type of lawn disease thrives in damp and dark conditions, and could cause severe damage to your grass or worse, kill your lawn.
Experts recommend using the dead leaves and debris to make mulch, and reuse in your garden. “Mulch can be made using organic matter like decaying leaves, bark, straw, or compost,”says Chris Bonnett, gardening expert and founder of (opens in new tab)GardeningExpress.co.uk (opens in new tab). “Placing it around the roots of plants will help insulate and protect them from the cold, however, it only tends to work with hardier plants.”
If you want more handy tips about reusing garden leaves, check out these 5 ways to use fallen leaves in your garden.
4. Don’t mow your grass
While you may want a neat and well-maintained lawn all year round, avoid mowing your lawn after an overnight frost. The grass blades will be extremely brittle, so the stress of mowing your lawn will only break the grass plant, causing severe damage. What’s more, once broken, the grass plant won’t be able to heal from this damage, which will make it even harder when trying to revive dead grass in time for the warmer months.
Instead, just wait for the grass to completely thaw out, or when the weather gets warmer before getting out the lawnmower! In any case, be sure not to make any of these 7 lawnmower mistakes.
5. Plant protection
Since you’re dealing with your lawn, don’t forget about protecting your plants from the frost. If you want your favorite, potted plants to survive, it might be worthwhile moving them indoors during ice cold temperatures.
"During cold weather, it's a good idea to do a little research on the plants in your garden to find out which ones should be moved indoors during the big freeze," recommends Patel. "While some plants are quite happy to stay outside in cold weather, others won't fare so well and will need to be taken inside until warmer temperatures arrive."
Another tip is to wrap delicate plants with bubble wrap or special fleece that will insulate and protect the plant against harsh weather. You can also cover the top of the soil with a wrap to protect it from the changing periods of freezing and thawing out.
For more lawncare tips, check out how to make your grass greener in 8 easy steps, how to plant grass seed to make your grass greener and how to lay sod to upgrade your lawn.
Before you do though, make sure that you're not making any of these seven common lawn care mistakes.