During the heat and droughts of summer, lawns are stressed by the dry conditions, water loss, insect attack and other causes. Winter brings a different set of stresses; low light, low root oxygen in damp areas, fungal disease, competitive growth of weeds, moss, liverworts, lichen and algae.


Grasses need good light levels for healthy growth. Lower light levels in winter slow and even stop grass growth. Lawn weeds including mosses, liverworts, lichens and algae are more tolerant of low light and will out-compete grasses in shaded areas.

As the deciduous trees and shrubs shading your lawn lose their leaves they will naturally allow more light to reach the grass of the lawn. However, the leaves may fall on the lawn and stop light reaching the grass, they will also keep areas wet and encourage fungal growth. Evergreen trees and shrubs will not lose their leaves and will continue to shade the lawn. The lower angle of the sun in the sky also means that areas of lawn that received light in summer may be shaded in winter.


Remove shade – Prune and thin shading trees and shrubs so that all areas of your lawn receive some direct sunlight even at mid-winter.

Collect and remove fallen leaves – Do not let leaves collect on your lawn. Sweep and rake them up regularly.

Raise mower height – In Autumn, raise the mowing height of your lawn mower. This lets the grasses grow long leaves that help shade out weeds, moss etc. Longer grass also helps protect the growing points of the grass from frost; the growing point of grass is at the base of the plant.


Many broadleaf weeds, moss, liverworts, lichens and algae thrive in the damp and low light conditions of winter. Mosses, liverworts, lichens and algae are often symptoms of poor drainage, low nutrients and low light. They will out compete the dormant grasses and your lawn can become a ‘weed patch.’


Treat weeds – In Autumn, prior to grasses going into a dormant stage, treat you lawn to get rid of broadleaf weeds, moss, lichens and algae so that your grass can still fill the patches of lawn where weeds were. Broadleaf weeds can be controlled with NO Weeds Turfclean and mosses with NO Moss in Lawns.  Improve light levels (as above) and improve drainage (as below).

Scarify – Use a lawn rake (with flexible tines) to scrape mosses, liverworts, lichens, dead leaves, and detritus out of lawns. This removes weeds, disease harboring material and allows more oxygen to reach soil.


Compacted and clay soils have naturally low drainage. During summer this may be an advantage to your lawn, but in winter the soil may become waterlogged. Waterlogged soil will have low levels of oxygen damaging the root systems of grasses. Mosses, liverworts, lichen and algae are more tolerant of these damp conditions. Over a winter your lawn may lose grass and be overrun by the undesirables.


Improve the drainage – in areas shaded and waterlogged areas use a fork or lawn aeration device to open the texture of the soil and improve water movement. If water still pools in the areas it may be necessary to install a drainage system under the lawn.


Many fungal diseases flourish in damp conditions and stressed grasses will be more susceptible to disease attack.

The autumnal fall of leaves can be sources of disease; fungal, bacterial and viral.


Treat lawns – NO Insects or Disease Spectrum Powder is an excellent preventative treatment for lawns and other plants. It should be used in conjunction with the above advice of improving exposure to light, improving drainage, controlling weeds, and removing potential sources of disease.

Scarify – Use a lawn rake (with flexible tines) to scrape mosses, liverworts, lichens, dead leaves, and detritus out of lawns. This removes weeds, disease harboring material and allows more oxygen to reach soil.


The fertility of lawns is important, not just during the growing seasons but also in winter when grasses may not be growing but they are still alive. Good nutrients are important for grass health and disease resistance.


Use a good organic fertiliser such as Kiwicare Organic Fertiliser in autumn when the grass is still growing. This will provide the nutrients for healthy grass over winter.

Look Forward to a Beautiful Lawn in Spring

Carry out the above advised solutions to lawn problems and you will save yourself a lot of hard work in spring. You can also look forward to enjoying a beautiful lush green lawn next spring.

Article Brought To You By Kiwicare     kiwicare-logo-50x50

Kiwicare is New Zealand’s own manufacturer and distributor of pest control, garden care and home maintenance products. The Kiwicare website contains advice on the eradication and prevention of all sorts of pests that bother us in New Zealand. Learn how to get rid of rats and mice, flies, spiders, ants, cockroaches, fleas, bed bugs and other creepy crawlies. Protect your plants from aphids, grass grub, caterpillars, weeds and more. Keep biting insects at bay with the Safari range of insect repellents. See the BioGro certified organic range of products to help you stay pest free without chemicals.

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  1. The Kiwicare website has a great new look and many new features including interactive problem solvers for home pests and garden pests, diseases and health.
    You may find some of the links in this article try and take you to the page that no longer exists. The error page however will tell you go to the home page and you will easily find the new page on the subject you seek.

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