Lawn Care Tips
The last thing you probably want to think about in the dead of winter is lawn maintenance. While your turfgrass may be dormant, it is still a living plant material that requires care. Here are some tips to remember in managing your lawn this month and in the seasons ahead.
If turgrass becomes too dry in its dormant stage, it can and will die. In fact, more Texas turf is lost during winter to desiccation (complete dryness) than to freeze damage. Be sure to water your lawn at least once every four or five weeks during winter if there hasn’t been enough rain or snow. A dry lawn is likely to be damaged more by low temperatures than a well-watered lawn.
As the lawn starts to break out of dormancy and green up in later winter and early spring, it’s critical to keep it well watered. Turfgrass is composed of plants that generate new roots, stems, and leaves during this transitional time.
Four times a year:
Late February-Early March – apply a simple 15-5-10 for an early green-up. Most companies that make slow-release fertilizers also make a non slow-release 15-5-10 that provides for a quick two-week green up before we get to the heart of the fertilizer schedule.
Some people will be tempted to use a weed-and-feed at this time, but if you’ve been following a herbicide schedule, there should never be a need. However, spot weed-and-feed treatments are recommended for those with turf-only landscapes or landscapes that have been established for many years. Most weed-and-feeds contain Atrazine which burns roots of young trees and shrubs.
• Late March-Early April – apply slow-release 3-1-2 ratio fertilizers.
• Late June-Early July- apply slow-release 3-1-2 ratio fertilizers. (recommended formulations 19-5-9, 19-4-10, 18-4-6, 15-5-10.)
• June-September – if turfgrass looks yellow (chlorosis) or necrotic, use an application of either granular or liquid iron. Once a year should be enough.
• October-November – apply winterizer formulas for winter hardiness. Ratios vary, but make sure they are “winter” or “fall” formulas designed for southern grasses. (examples: 18-6-12, 8-12-16, 10-5-14) Will make lawns winter-hardy.
Two times a year:
• July – September – Gray Leaf Spot is a blotchy spot on the grass blade leafs. (mostly on St. Augustine lawns) Use fungicides with active ingredients like Daconil, Consan or Banner.
• September – October – To control the dreaded brownpatch fungal disease (symmetrical brown circles in the grass) you must prevent it from coming up with a systemic lawn fungicide.
Three times a year:
(Pre-Emergent controls to prevent weeds)
• Late October-Early November – Use pre-emergent herbicides, to prevent the weeds that we experience in February and March.
• February-March – Use pre-emergent controls for grassy weeds again, to prevent such weeds as Crabgrass, Goosegrass and Dallisgrass from popping up late in the spring and summer.
• May-Early June – One more application of a grassy pre-emergent will keep fall weeds from invading from August on.
It is our belief that you do not put down insecticides unless you know you have a problem. However, be prepared during the hot summer months – July through September – to attack chinch bug damage. This will show up as irregular shaped spots in the lawn along the concrete. Any liquid insecticide will treat the spot well. Then apply a granular insecticide in a broadcast applicator throughout the rest of the yard.
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