Winter is upon us in full force in the south. Winter in the southern states varies greatly, with the potential for snow, ice storms, rain, and fluctuating temperatures that can range from below freezing to balmy 60s and 70s, all within the same month! Regardless of the weather, it is important to maintain your lawn care plan even during the dormant winter season. Here are 5 winter lawn care tips you can use if you live down south.
Adjust Your Sprinklers
Many homeowners don’t think to adjust their sprinkler settings from summer to winter. Continuing on a summer watering schedule can lead to overwatering for your lawn. During the winter, most grasses only require an inch of water per week. Warm season grasses don’t soak up as much water in the winter months and this overwatering can lead to problems for your lawn. Adjust your sprinklers to a schedule that allows for the recommended amount of water per week.
Cut Back on Lawn Traffic
In the summer months, turf is springy and resilient. In the winter, the turf’s energy is redirected to its roots rather than its crown, leaving dormant grass brittle and weak. Heavy traffic on your lawn while it is in this dormant, brittle state can lead to severe damage. Try to avoid heavy lawn traffic by using walkways, pavers, and sidewalks as much as possible. It is also important to avoid traffic on your lawn when frost is present as this makes it much more susceptible to damage.
Get Rid of Debris
Winter lawn debris can be leaves, branches, or any other organic material that accumulates. Leaving this clutter on top of your grass can lead to disease and bacteria and can also suffocate the turf. Removing organic debris allows your lawn to breathe which allows it to soak up the nutrients it needs from the limited amount of sun it gets during the day.
Consider Resodding Your Lawn
If your lawn is swampy or has bare spots, winter may be the time to consider resodding. Although the roots will be dormant and grow slowly, once the weather warms up they will take hold and flourish. If you decide to resod in the winter use caution – your lawn will be overly sensitive and can be damaged more easily.
Aerate and Weed
Depending on what type of grass you have, winter may be a good time to aerate. Soil compaction is exponentially worse in the wintertime. Aeration not only helps alleviate this compaction, but also allows oxygen, nutrients, and water to get to the roots where it is desperately needed. Aeration also makes your lawn less susceptible to invasive weeds that can run rampant in the winter months. For this reason, it is also important to continue weeding during the winter.
If you need help getting a jump on your winter lawn care, contact a local lawn care company who can give you a free lawn analysis and help set you up for a lush, healthy lawn come spring.