Winter is on the horizon and the time to start packing away the lawn mower and wrapping up plants has come. However, if you're worried that you're packing yours up too soon, we can reveal that the next few weeks (the start of November) is ideally the last time to mow your lawn before winter sets in proper.
Yes, you could just put your lawn mower away now and forget about that last trim, but according to the experts, this would be a big lawn care mistake. 'It’s very important to look after lawns well now, ready for the winter season, to ensure that they emerge healthy and robust in the Spring,' explains Peter Chaloner, managing director of Cobra Garden.
When to mow your lawn the last time before winter
According to gardening expert Chris Bonnett, founder of GardeningExpress, early November is the best time to mow your lawn for the last time before winter.
Chris says, 'Cutting the lawn nice and short at this point in the year will help to keep the grass healthy throughout the winter, and will encourage better growth next Spring.'
However, the final time to cut your grass before winter will be a little later this year than normal according to Peter Chaloner, of Cobra Garden. 'The recent unseasonable weather has meant that grass is continuing to grow quite voraciously and will continue to grow while the temperatures remain above five degrees. This means that the last mow of the season is likely to be later than usual and that these later mows will have to be undertaken with care.'
Wet weather is currently predicted for this weekend, so you will likely need to delay your final mow until it dries up. 'It’s important to mow when the lawn is dry and to remember to do it little and often, gradually lowering the cutting height as you go, but keeping to at least 5mm less than you would in the summer months,' recommends Peter.
Gardening expert Oliver Johnson at HomeAdviceGuide agreed that November is the best month to do your final mow of the lawn, explaining, 'at this time of the year, the lawn will grow much slower and won’t need cutting as often anyway. Frost can stop the growth, so after the first frost, your grass won’t need cutting at all again until the weather starts to get warmer the following year.'
Chris explained that cutting your lawn at this point in the year will allow it to stay in the best condition even when the coldest temperatures threaten its health. 'It’s important to keep the lawn healthy throughout the winter so that it can be more resilient to the cold conditions,' he says.
'Ideally you’ll also want to cut the lawn shorter than usual to prevent it from getting matted down, which can make it more susceptible to diseases.'
Is it too late to mow the lawn in November?
This year because temperatures have been unseasonably warm it is definitely not to late to mow the lawn in November. In fact, most experts generally recommend mowing the grass for the final time in the early weeks of November.
The main reason to stop mowing in November is that this is usually the first time temperatures drop below five degrees and the grass starts growing more slowly. As such, mowing your lawn in winter when the temperatures drop below this is rather pointless, as it's unlikely to grow too unruly, even in the space of a couple of months.
However, it is wise to avoid mowing your lawn too late in November and in winter due to the often damp conditions the season brings. It's usually much harder to drag your lawnmower across your grass when it's wet and muddy, and doing so could even damage it, resulting in an uneven lawn when everything begins to grow back.
How can I keep my lawn in good shape over the winter?
So aside from cutting your grass in early November, how else can you keep your lawn in good shape across the winter months?
Oliver explains that one of his biggest lawn care tips at this point in the year, is to aerate your lawn (e.g. spiking holes in it), when it’s not too wet or not too frosty. This, he says, is an ideal way to keep it ticking over nicely in the winter. 'You should aim to do this when you do the last cut,' he says. 'This will allow for proper drainage and will prevent pooling of water when there is heavy rain or melting snow.
'You can aerate the lawn use a special tool or with a fork,' he continues. Using a tool like Amazon's Colwelt lawn spike aerator, Oliver says: 'Simply poke several holes evenly across the surface of the lawn to help with the drainage. Doing so will keep your lawn healthy and prevent it from dying off in the winter.'
If you have some to hand, it’s also advised to apply any last drops of fertiliser during your final cut, in order to keep the lawn healthy. Peter Chaloner from Cobra also recommends using fallen leaves to give your lawn an extra boost.
'If your lawn has a covering of fallen leaves, mowing them into it will help feed the grass with a great, free soil conditioner that will help it retain moisture and stay healthy over winter.
'You’ll need a mulching lawnmower for this, which is designed to recirculate the grass clippings so they are cut into small pieces and can be left on the lawn rather than collected and bagged,' he adds.
Once that frost hits take it as a sign to safely pack your lawn mower away until warmer weather heads our way.
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Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine.
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