You might think that at any moment now, you could put your mower away and not take it out again until spring.
After all, that’s what all the old gardening books say: “Send the mower away for servicing.”
The thing is that nowadays our winter cold spells tend to be brief and, in the milder periods that are frequent in between, the grass continues to grow, albeit slowly.
We are also a bit tidier as a race, which means that the sight of an unkempt, unmown lawn is now much less appealing and tends to bring out the control freak in all of us.
Well that’s no bad thing, provided you use a little bit of common sense. For a start, regularly rake up any fallen leaves that land on the lawn.
Oh, I know it’s tempting to wait until they are all down, but if you do, that will take several weeks (oak leaves often take until Christmas to fall from the trees) and by that time you will discover that much of the grass has rotted off.
No, weekly sweeping is the thing.
Treat it as a free gym session and you won’t feel nearly so bad and your abs will benefit as a result.
When the grass does look long and shaggy, go over it with the mower, but not if the ground is frosty or sodden.
A mild, dry day is the time to mow and don’t be tempted to cut the grass as short as you do in summer.
Set the height of cut to leave between an inch and an inch-and-a-half of growth.
Use a grass box or bag to take the clippings off – leaving them lying on the lawn at this time of year will just create a soggy mess.
If your soil is badly drained, spiking over the lawn with a garden fork pushed in for three or four inches at six-inch intervals will help reduce compaction and help with drying out the soil – even more so if you can be bothered to sweep sharp sand into the holes you’ve made.
If your lawn feels springy and there is dead grass and moss growing in between the living stuff, go over it with a wire-toothed rake to rip out the worst of it and let the living grass spread to fill the gaps.
If this really is a step too far, hire a powered lawn raker, which will make short work of it. Oh, and in frosty weather, make sure you keep off the lawn.
Walk across it when it is crispy and white and a few days later – when the thaw comes – you’ll see brown footprints that mark your path. Not a pretty sight.
Mind you, when it is frosty, that’s when you can send the mower for servicing.
Don’t miss Alan’s gardening column today and Tip Of The Day every weekday in the Daily Express.