Keep off the grass. That’s the sign which should go out on the lawn every November –and it should stay there until spring.
Why? Because when frost coats the leaves of grass you can be sure that the stems are literally frozen through, even if the soil isn’t quite that cold. This means that the lawn is vulnerable to physical damage if you walk over the area – so keep off and encourage all the family to do the same.
Unfortunately, walking or running over the grass will crush the leaves and they will turn brown when they warm up, so you could have brown footprints marking the lawn for weeks.
But if the weather remains really wet and puddles form on the lawn surface, you should go for a walk on the lawn – and take a garden fork with you so that you can spike the wet areas down to a depth of at least 15cm (6ins).
The holes will improve drainage slightly and should help the sitting water to drain away. As an added incentive, fill the holes with sharp river sand or fine compost.
If the puddles form in slight depressions in the lawn, it may be worth also adding some riddled soil or compost to level the hollows. But do it gradually – don’t tip a foot of soil onto the grass unless you want to kill it.
Lawns don’t usually fare badly in wet weather, although they do need extra nutrients throughout the year if they are to look a rich green and remain thick and lush. Feeding isn’t recommended during winter but you could look to the January sales to pick up something like EverGreen Cut & Feed to apply when the weather turns mild next spring.
It’s not a great idea to mow the lawn during winter, but you can keep it looking reasonably trim and tidy by keeping the edges trimmed.
If you have time, use a half-moon edger to cut the lawn back to its original shape. A clean, sharp edge with bare soil below the level of the lawn, provides a handy barrier that can quickly and easily be treated with weedkiller whenever an unwanted plant (or plants) dare to show their leaves.
And finally, clean the mower or get it serviced so it’s fit for purpose next year.