Winter lawn care for a wide variety of turfgrasses slightly differs from that of spring, summer and fall. Your lawn is no longer in the active growing season. In fact, most warm season lawns go dormant around this time. Winter maintenance is still just as important as other seasonal maintenance practices as your winter care will greatly determine how well your lawn comes out of dormancy in the spring.
Although you shouldn’t have to spend as much time maintaining your lawn during the active growing season, winter maintenance is still a vital part of caring for your lawn. Read our winter lawn care tips and watch our Winter Maintenance for Your Turfgrass video below to learn more about some of things you should be doing for your lawn during the coldest season of the year.
Irrigation maintenance practices during the winter aren’t usually as important in areas that receive rain or snow. In most areas, you will just need to water your lawn less than the active growing season. However, if you are in an area that receives a really dry winter, be sure to water your lawn enough so that the soil receives nourishment and keeps grass blades from drying out. Your lawn is dormant—this doesn’t mean it is dead and doesn’t still need water.
It is now getting cooler outside and it’s obvious that you won’t need to mow as frequently as you have been all year. Our recommendation is to keep your grass a bit taller than normal. When grass is too short, it doesn’t offer as much protection and allows for frost to get into the growing areas of your lawn. Keeping this area as protected as possible with slightly taller grass creates a barrier-like protection for the grass blades and stolons.
Fertilization should generally take place during the active growing seasons. There is really not a need to apply fertilizer, herbicide or fungicide during the winter. It is similar to giving someone a pill while they are sleeping—it won’t be as effective. However, when spring comes, it will be time to fertilize your lawn. Researching different fertilizers that match your lawn’s needs is something you can go ahead and start doing. The Lawnifi® Spring Fertilizer Box is an easy-to-use liquid fertilizer program powered by Catalyst TechnologyTM to help plants better absorb nutrients with the use of less product. Learn more about Lawnifi at Lawnifi.com.
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Keep your lawn clean and avoid excessive traffic
Your grass is probably dormant, meaning it’s not going to put a lot of energy into restoring itself after heavy traffic. Taking as much care of your lawn as you can by reducing traffic while it is “asleep” is one of the best preventative maintenance practices you can perform. It keeps your grass from having to spend a bunch of energy restoring itself when it comes out of dormancy. Instead, let your grass focus its energy on flourishing as it comes out of dormancy.
Watch for winter weeds
Lastly, keep an eye out for winter grass weeds. As stated earlier, applying an herbicide during the winter isn’t always effective since your lawn is dormant. However, you can still go out and handle weeds. Common winter weeds to look out for include:
- Annual bluegrass (Poa annua), and
- Prickly lettuce.
To learn more about common lawn weeds, take a look at our Identifying Common Lawn Weeds blog post.
Pictured above from left to right: deadnettle, chickweed, annual bluegrass and prickly lettuce.
As previously mentioned, most warm season lawns are probably dormant during this time. If you want to keep your grass looking green despite its dormancy, check out our blogs on Turf Colorant: A Great Option for Maintaining Winter Color in Warm Season Lawns and How to Keep Your Lawn Green During the Winter.