The Few, But Important Winter Lawn Care Tasks for NC Lawns
There aren’t many aspects of lawn care that North Carolina homeowners need to focus on in the winter months, but it is important to keep in mind a few beneficial practices.
When you continue to pay attention to your lawn in the winter, you will be able to maintain its health in the long-term while reducing the chances of adverse conditions appearing in the spring and summer.
Does My Lawn Need Fertilizer in the Winter?
Although the grass is not actively growing and taking up nutrients, it is okay to apply a winter lawn fertilizer. With soil temperatures below 50 degrees, there is very little microbial activity. Any fertilizer that is applied will breakdown and become available to the plant as the soil temperatures warm up. This means there will be food readily available in the spring when the turf begins actively growing again.
Should I Water My Lawn in the Winter?
A heavy watering prior to winter would be beneficial if in the previous month's, rainfall was less than normal. Generally speaking, there is no need to water your lawn in the winter because grass plants have stopped growing, and with cooler temperatures the evaporation rate is not as high.
Do I Need to Worry About Insects, Winter Kill or Snow Mold?
Turf diseases in warm season turf varieties occur during the grasses transition into dormancy in the fall. Damage does not become apparent until the turf begins to green up in the spring. Several fungicide applications in the transition periods will help protect the turf from these soil borne fungal diseases.
During North Carolina winters, insect damage is seldom a problem. Temperatures in North Carolina get cold enough that insects overwinter underground to survive until spring arrives and activity resumes.
Winter kill in warm season varieties becomes an issue when temperatures go from cold to warm and back to cold. This swing in temperatures “tricks” the plant into thinking it is time to start growing again. If this occurs multiple times, the food reserves the plant stores and uses to come out of dormancy will be depleted, causing the plant to run out of food, and ultimately die.
Snow mold is a winter disease that appears when heavy snow lays on grass for multiple weeks or months on end. This disease is rare in the piedmont and coastal plains areas of North Carolina.
How Can I Protect My Lawn from Salt Damage and Plow Damage?
Your lawn can become damaged from salts you may use to deice your driveway or sidewalk. To protect your grass from salt damage, be careful when salting near the edges of your lawn, and avoid using excessive amounts of salt to prevent it from washing into your grass.
As with salt applications, plowing helps get rid of unwanted snow and ice, but it might cause physical damage to your lawn in the process.
Lawn Care Tips & Help in Every Season
Warm season turf varieties, especially Centipede, do not tolerate heavy traffic during dormancy. Damage is caused to the plant when the activity crushes the plant’s runners. It can take well into the summer for the plant to fully recover.
Winter is a good time to consult with a professional lawn care service about what you can do to make sure your lawn enters the spring in a healthy state and to discuss what changes need to be made to your current lawn care program. Switching to an expert company like Weed Man will allow you to keep your lawn healthy year-round.
At Weed Man, we bring a superior knowledge of winter lawn care to the Raleigh, NC area. Learn more about how Weed Man can help you achieve a greener and healthier lawn by requesting a free quote, or call us at 919-552-1515.