How-To's & Guides

Winter is coming – preparing your football pitch for the cold season

Summer’s moved on and the autumn leaves are falling. Sporting season draws to an end and it’s time to think about the colder days ahead. And thinking about colder days, for a greenspace caretaker, also means thinking of how to best protect the lawn so it will withstand winter cold and be in the very best shape for when warm weather comes knocking again. Together with Simeon Liljenberg, Head Groundsman at Sweden’s national football stadium, Friends Arena, we present the best tips to prepare the pitch so that it is ready to fill out strong and green when the cold and snow begin to clear.

Clear away the clutter

It may go without saying for a football field, but firstly take care of any damaged areas or bare patches. Then, make sure no items are left lying around. If an object is left on the grass during cold weather and snowfall it can create large dead spots because of the weight of the object. In the spring the grass in that area will be stunted and thinner than the rest of the yard. Do an occasional sweep of the lawn from time to time during the winter, to make sure.

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The final cut

The last cut of the season is one of the most important ones. Grass stops growing during the winter months, so the season’s last cutting needs to leave the grass a bit taller than usual. The higher the grass is, the more sunlight it is able to absorb, but if left too long light will be blocked from the base of the grass stems and it will likely turn yellow.

If your lawn normally is cut to a height of 25mm, the final cut should leave it at around 30–35mm. Change the settings of the cutting height on your Automower® to get the correct length.

“Usually, grass stops growing when the temperature goes below seven degrees Celsius, so it’s important to stay abreast of the weather forecast in order to plan when to do the season’s last cutting”, says Simeon Liljenberg. “It’s also important to make sure to change the knives of the robotic lawn mower before cutting as dull blades may trash the grass tips, making them brittle and weak and less resistant to, for example, fungus growth if it snows.”

Don’t forget to fertilise

In order for the grass to have the very best conditions during the colder days ahead, you need to fertilise. And in order to find exactly what fertiliser to use, you need to make a careful inspection. Earth samples and sap analysis will help determine the nutrient levels of the grass and show what needs to be added for best effect.

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Care for your tools

When you’ve made sure the pitch is as prepared as it can be, it’s time to turn your attention to your tools and make them ready for winter storage. Give your robotic lawn mower a good service before putting it to winter rest, either do it yourself or leave it at a Husqvarna dealership. Husqvarna service technicians will take your entire robotic lawn mower apart (including the charging station and power supply unit), clean it thoroughly, check operation, control the sensors, electronics, blades, update the software, and much more. They will get rid of all that grass and grime on the inside that could otherwise cause problems and trap moisture inside your robotic lawn mower.

If you choose to service your mowers yourself, make sure to follow service instruction meticulously to prepare your Automower® in the very best way possible for the next season.

And then, well then, it’s all about hunkering down, enjoying the cosy winter dark, awaiting the return of spring’s warm sunlight!

About Simeon Lilienberg
  • Lives: In the small town of Nossebro northeast of Gothenburg in Sweden, with his wife and two children.
  • Education: Turf Grass Management at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.
  • Occupation: Sports grass expert.
  • Special assignments: Simeon works as Head Groundsman at the Swedish national football stadium, Friends Arena. He’s also pitch consultant for the Swedish Football Federation, inspecting and approving pitches used for Sweden’s highest football league.
  • Favourite football team: Tottenham Hotspur FC, London, UK.
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