Your lawn, just like many of your garden plants, behaves and grows differently across each of the four seasons. Understanding a little about its habits and knowing the simple tricks that will help it flourish can assist you in having a lawn that looks its best year round.
Of course, there are variations in climate and soils depending on where you live, and these need to be considered but here’s our easy guide to seasonal lawn care.
Feeding and watering lawn across the seasons
Fertilising lawn across the seasons
Lawns require regular feeding with a quality lawn fertiliser to keep them looking good and growing strong.
The ideal is to fertilise your lawn three times a year – spring, summer and autumn, but if once a year is your thing, then make it spring.
Using a quality lawn fertiliser has many advantages:
- The average lawn will only take around 10-minutes to fertilise.
- One application will last for up to three months.
- As it’s slow release you can rest assured that you are not flooding your soil and surrounding waterways or bushland with excess nutrient runoff; because the formula is concentrated you get excellent coverage from a small bag.
Watering lawn across the seasons
A well fed, maintained and loved lawn will withstand dry conditions better than a neglected one.
If your lawn is larger than a courtyard and your suburb's water restrictions allow sprinkler systems, then consider changing from hand watering. You'll save yourself loads of time, and looking after your lawn becomes quick and easy.
Use a quality lawn sprinkler:
- With an adjustable pattern that can be set to avoid watering hard surfaces.
- Put a timer on your tap so you don’t forget to turn it off.
If your lawn area is hard to rewet, use a wetting agent like Scotts EveryDrop granular or liquid to improve moisture penetration.
Lawn care in Spring
Most of the lawn grasses we grow in Australia are warm season varieties that don't do well over winter. Chances are your lawn’s looking a bit worse for wear leading into spring. Browning is typical, as is thinning. This will have the flow-on effect of making any bare patches look worse than they actually are. On the positive side, your lawn is about to bust back into lush, green life.
Spring lawn tasks:
- Rake vigorously to not only clear fallen leaves and twigs but more importantly; to strip out dead and brown grass ("thatch") to allow more light through to new shoots.
- Fertilise: This is the critical time of year to give your lawn a balanced, slow release feed. Fertilising now provides the nutrients to reinvigorate the lawn so it can power into summer. If you only fertilise once a year, do it in spring!
- Watch watering: This can be a tricky time of year for watering. The soil hasn’t warmed and nights may still be cool, so a deep watering may last for longer than expected. Burrow your finger down into the lawn. If it’s damp, don't water.
- Mowing: Now’s the time to get your mower serviced and the blades sharpened or changed. If you’ve been mowing with a catcher over winter, switch to mulch mowing now. See more tips on mowing in our Complete Guide to Lawn Care.
- Weed watch: Weeds are coming to life too! Fertilising the lawn to thicken it up will help keep weeds at bay. Very sparse areas are the most likely to become infested with weeds. If they are already obvious, use Scotts Lawn Builder + WeedKill (instead of All Purpose). Just ensure your lawn type is suitable because weed and feed products are often unsuitable for Buffalo and other wide blade grasses.
ALWAYS read the label to ensure it’s suitable for your lawn type.
Visit our Spring Lawn Care guide for more tips on lawn maintenance this spring.
Lawn care in Summer
This is potentially the most challenging time of year for your lawn, with extreme heat, wind and dryness all getting thrown at it. While you can’t do much about the weather, you can make sure your lawn is well set up to survive these trying conditions.
Summer lawn tasks:
- Fertilise: Apply slow release Scotts Lawn Builder again in early summer - three months after the first feed. Avoid fertilising once daytime temperatures reach 30°C.
- Get water-wise: Lawns can dry out very quickly in summer. Water early in the morning while it's cool so your lawn gets a chance to absorb the maximum amount of water. Late watering may induce overnight humidity resulting in fungal problems. If water restrictions limit your ability to water as regularly as you’d like, you can use a soil-wetting agent to improve the lawn’s water penetration and retention.
- Mowing: Growth usually slows down in hot, dry weather due to stress. Raise the cutting height of the mower to leave the grass longer, providing shade and natural cooling to the roots and soil. Mulch mow as this helps insulate the soil and roots and reduce evaporation. Mow early or late in the day to reduce the incidence of the grass developing burned tips.
- Weed watch: Weeds may continue to thrive in summer, especially dandelion and cats-ear that have large tap roots that help them survive drought. Take care using lawn weeding products - many brands suggest avoiding use in hot weather. Scotts Lawn Builder Weed, Feed & Green Up is the perfect choice because it waters as it works and can be applied during hot times.
Read the label to make sure it's suitable for your lawn variety before using.
Visit our Summer Lawn Care guide for more tips on lawn maintenance this summer.
Lawn care in Autumn
You can almost hear lawns and gardens, not to mention gardeners, breathe a sigh of relief as evenings become cooler and days shorter. Now’s the time to make good any damage done in the summer and, more importantly, set your lawn up for the cold times ahead.
Autumn lawn tasks:
- Fertilise: If you only feed your lawn once a year, do it in Spring; if you only fertilise twice a year, do it in Spring and Autumn. Feeding now will green your lawn up ahead of winter also make it stronger and better able to resist damage from extreme cold, even frost. Use Scotts Lawn Builder All Purpose granular or Buffalo Granular or Hose-on at this time of year.
- Watering: It can be easy to overlook the lawn drying out at this time of year. Windy weather can be just as drying as a hot day. Make the most of any rain or water you do apply by using Scotts EveryDrop Soil Wetter, it'll improve water penetration significantly.
- Mowing: Mowing frequency will decrease as growth slows. In autumn, your lawn is storing energy for winter so growth and mowing frequency should drop. Ensure you clear leaves to allow your lawn as much sunlight as possible leading into the harsh winter.
TIP: If your lawn doesn’t need mowing but leaves are a problem, raise the cutting height of your mower to the limit, fit the catcher and use it like a vacuum cleaner.
- Aerating: Also called “spiking” this helps improve the air and water among the grass roots. It helps your lawn cope with periods of waterlogging or drought. A garden fork is the easiest way to aerate your lawn. But if your lawn has clay soil, a hollow-tined aerator is best. You may not need to do this every year, as often every two years is adequate.
- Top-dressing: You do this after aerating, and it involves applying a mix of loam, sand and organic matter to fill the aeration holes. It will help with the texture and drainage which in turn should lead to denser grass.
- Weed watch: Weeds are generally not problematic in autumn but there's one pesky variety that needs to be dealt with now.
Did you find your lawn full of bindii prickles in summer? Now is the time to take action - it’s an annual weed that starts its growth in autumn. The easy way to treat bindii and other lawn weeds is with Scotts Lawn Builder Weed, Feed & Green Up hose-on.
Read the label carefully to ensure your lawn is a suitable variety before use.
Lawn care in Winter
Around most of the country, lawns hibernate through Winter, with maintenance demands very low.
Winter lawn tasks
- Fertilise: Fertilising the lawn in Winter is not generally recommended, especially if you have already fed it three times since the start of Spring. There is little point in feeding because growth has slowed and the lawn will not take up nutrients.
- Watering: It’s surprising how dry the lawn and garden can become in winter. Keep an eye on the moisture levels by feeling deep into the thatch. If it feels moist, don't water. In winter it's best to water in the morning. If you water in the afternoon before a cold night water may freeze, causing damage. Don't over water because a lawn that stays wet can rot when it's cold.
- Mowing: In most places, you’ll probably only need to mow two or three times across winter. Switch to catching rather than mulching because clippings left on the lawn may cause fungal problems. Keep the lawn clear of fallen leaves and trim back overhanging branches that may be restricting light.
- Aerating: Compacted lawns (where the soil is so densely compacted together that it can’t hold water, oxygen or nutrients) are a problem in winter. Aerating your lawn will help with this and ensure your lawn gets the water, oxygen and nutrients it needs.
- Weed watch: Most weeds are dormant over winter but there are a few to watch for. It’s still not too late to treat bindii and this should also deal with broadleaf weeds, thistles and oxalis (clovers). Apply Scotts Lawn Builder Weed, Feed & Green Up hose-on.
Read the label to make sure your lawn is a suitable variety.
The most conspicuous weed is likely to be Winter Grass. It will stand out lush and bright green. Winter Grass is best removed by hand - selective lawn weeders will not kill it. Hand removal is easy - use an old fashioned daisy grubber then throw the plants into a bucket. Dispose of them in your green waste bin.
Looking for more lawn care tips to keep your lawn healthy throughout the year? Visit our YouTube channel for all your essential lawn tips and tricks.