With temperatures at last now feeling really wintery and the recent hard frosts, you'd be forgiven for completely forgetting all about your lawn! However there are a few tips to bear in mind at this time of year that will ensure that your lawn overwinters as well as it possibly can:
Keep off frosty grass! Walking on frozen grass plants will crush the cells inside the leaf (they are mostly water and are therefore hard and brittle when frozen) which will damage the plant and leave you with clear footbprints well after the frost has thawed.
Clear Leaves: Cold temperatures combined with a bit of wind will ensure that the last of the leaves should be coming down this month - even from the very tenacious Oak which always seems to be the last to go. Make sure that these leaves do not remain on your lawn for more than a week as the light deprived grass plants underneath will die off leaving you with a thinning lawn underneath.
Don't let the lawn get too long! Who knows what the temperatures will do between now and the end of February, but it is also important to make sure that your lawn does not get too long over the winter. If temperatures start to warm up then the grass will start to grow - try to keep the lawn at a hight of 1.5 to 2 inches - 30-40 mms as this will mean that the plants get sufficient light over the winter. Long lawns over the winter will thin out and encourage the dreaded moss!
Don't walk on waterlogged grass. Lawns that are waterlogged (i.e. when you can hear or feel a squeltch under your feet) compact very easily. Leave the mowing for another day, and try only to go on the lawn if absolutely necessary. If you have a destination at the bottom of the garden which you need to reach regularly in the winter months: a home office, a shed or even a compost heap then consider installing some stepping stones or a pathway (next spring) to avoid this problem in the future
Consider winter lawn treatments now: our winterisation treatment which encompasses a moss control is particularly good at keeping this spectre at bay till the spring. Decompaction techniques are also useful at this time of year meaning better drainage and better lawn growth come March/April. See my article on Winterising your lawn