Warm up to win­ter gar­den­ing

Don’t wait un­til spring to get busy out­doors, writes Catherine Nikas-Bou­los

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n w rain and dew, stick to­gether, and form a thick layer that will suf­fo­cate the grass and breed fun­gal dis­eases,” says Melissa. “These leaves can be com­posted.”

Gar­den­ing is not just about keep­ing your home look­ing pretty, but stay­ing ac­tive in the gar­den in win­ter is good for the soul too. She ex­plains that gar­den­ing is “good for the mind and stay­ing ac­tive can help re­duce stress and anx­i­ety lev­els”.

Lawn health

agrees that lawns “get ham­mered” in win­ter. The hor­ti­cul­tur­ist and Victa am­bas­sador (in­set, below) says a post-win­ter lawn can look like a dis­as­ter area un­less you get busy be­fore­hand. Start by at­tend­ing to weeds. “Many weeds are an­nu­als and just like the lovely bloomer bloomers you plant in your gar­den or pots they make merry for a short tim time,” he says. “As your lawn is near dor­mant, these fast-grow­ing weeds can leave you with dead spots come spring through cut­ting off sun­light that is al­ready in short s sup­ply in win­ter.” Chances are the weeds will be l lush and green and stand taller t than your lawn. At this point, man­ual re re­moval with a weed­ing tool is the most ef­fec­tive op­tion. If you de­cide to take a c chem­i­cal ap­proach the first trick is to iden­tify the w weeds so you can de­cide on the best treat­ment. ““Just bear in mind that even qual­ity selec­tive herb her­bi­cides ap­pro­pri­ately ap­plied can cause your lawn a lot o of stress in win­ter so use her­bi­cides as a last re­sort.”

Food for thought

If you did the right thing and fed your lawn in early au­tumn then it should be tol­er­at­ing the cold con­di­tions well right now, says Adam.

“Whether you fed or not, you can still give it a help­ing hand, not by feed­ing your lawn, but your soil.”

Keep­ing soil micro­organ­isms nour­ished can im­prove a lawn’s re­silience, so he rec­om­mends ap­ply­ing some­thing like a hose-on sea­weed or or­gan­i­cally for­ti­fied prod­uct.

Also, it’s im­por­tant to do more than trim your grass in win­ter. Pick up bits and pieces such as twigs and leaves that can re­duce sun­light get­ting through.

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