Winter Care For Warm Season Grasses
There's no wrong time to start a fertilization and weed control lawn care program. Let's talk about winter care for warm-season grasses. Lawn care is an ongoing process and necessary for a thick, healthy, and weed-free lawn year-round. In the south, warm-season grasses, like Zoysia and Bermuda, are common, and they thrive in late spring and summer and go dormant when the ground temperature drops below 50° Fahrenheit.
Although warm-season grasses go dormant in the winter, they still need care. Here are some tips for winter care for your warm-season lawn.
When your lawn goes dormant, that doesn't mean you should neglect it. In fact, it's quite the opposite. What you do for your lawn in the winter affects how your lawn looks in the spring and summer. Fertilization in the winter months should include the following:
- Pre and post-emergents. These help prevent future weeds and knock back winter weeds, like dandelions, Poa annua, and henbit.
- Potassium. Potassium promotes root growth and helps protect roots from cold temperature stress.
It may be tempting to put the mower away, but don't do so too soon. Your warm-season grass will continue to grow until the first hard frost. Remember, it's best to mow with a sharp mower and mow at 2- 3 inches for winter insulation. This will help protect the grassroots during the cold temperatures. After the first frost, you can take a break from mowing until spring of next year.
In most years, lawns in the southeast can take a beating in the summer heat. We recommend 1 inch of water every 2- 4 weeks and, in some cases, more. If your lawn has lingering summer stresses or windy conditions with low humidity, it's important to irrigate your lawn adequately.
Warm-season grasses grow well in the southeast, with warm summers and mild winters. Although Bermuda and Zoysia are hardy warm-season grasses, they require some winter care. We hope these tips above help you better understand what you can do as a homeowner to have a healthy, green, weed-free lawn.