How To Take Care of Your Lawn Before Winter
Many folks in our neck of the woods are a bit unsure of how to go about pre-winter lawn care in Houston. While most Americans can forget about their grass for a few months while it dies back and gets covered in snow, ours is still exposed and gradually slips into a period of dormancy. However, we do get the occasional bout of freezing rain and overnight frost, so we still have to be prepared for the weather’s effects on our grass. Here’s a list of things you should get done this month before autumn comes to an end, so your grass stays healthy straight into 2021!
After a long hot summer, our lawns may have areas of damaged turf. Fall is a great time to add sod or plugs to repair your damaged areas.
Grass Care in October/November in Texas
Go through our yard prep checklist this month to ensure your grass bounces back with more vigor and vibrancy than Cher during any one of her many comeback tours. These easy steps will make a world of difference in the growth and color of your grass!
Rake Leaves, Remove Debris, and Mow
Old leaves, sticks, and other debris left over from autumn can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, which can lead to brown patch and other annoying fungal problems. Rake them up, or consider mulching them by running the lawnmower over them. This way, the leaves will break down quickly and deliver valuable nutrients to the soil that will help feed your grass. Plus, you’ll get that last final mow in for the season, so you’re hitting two birds with one stone!
Monitor the Lawn for Brown Patch
With the cooler temperatures and increased rainfall, brown patch will start to form, and in areas with compaction, poor drainage and bad soil, it will spread like wildfire if not treated. Fungicide treatments are the quick fix to the problem. Apply Heritage granular fungicide to the spots and immediately around the area. To get long term control of brown patch, you must address the stresses. If compaction is an issue, consider aeration. Poor drainage can be addressed by adding drains and increasing organic material by compost topdressing.
Fertilize With a Fall Fertilizer
Not all lawn foods are created equally! The lawns needs change with the seasons. With the cooler temps and shorter days, our lawns have less need for nitrogen (the 1st number on a fertilizer), but with the cold temps, the lawn roots need more potash (the 3rd number). We recommend using either NitroPhos Fall Special 8-12-16, or MicroLife 5-1-3. These are both formulated in Houston for the soils and conditions we experience in the Gulf Coast region of Texas. If you have active brown patch fungus, treat the spots with Heritage and make sure they are under control before you apply any nitrogen fertilizers. Nitrogen will feed active fungus.
Re-Sod or Plug in New Grass
After a long hot summer, our lawns may have areas of damaged turf. Fall is a great time to add sod or plugs to repair your damaged areas. Apply a thin layer of Leaf Mold Compost then lay sod or plant plugs. Your newly planted grass will develop healthy roots over the winter months and be ready to green up and take off in early spring.
Watering in the fall and winter can be a bit tricky. The grass is in a slow growth state and therefore does not need as much water as it did during active growth in the summer. Watering should be kept to a minimum during the fall/winter months. Water when you fertilize, plant grass, or if we have several days with no rain, and always water before a severe freeze event to insulate your root systems.
Apply Pre-Emergent Herbicide
The name says it all!!! Pre-emergent, meaning it stops most weed seed from germinating and emerging. Pre-emergent has no killing qualities, it just keeps weeds from forming. This is different from a Post-emergent. Post-emergents kill weeds once they have emerged from seed and are actively growing. If we can prevent weeds with pre-emergents, then there is less need for weed killer use in the spring and summer. Weed killers can do a lot of damage to our warm weather grasses if not used correctly, so prevention is key! We recommend Nitro-Phos Barricade for your lawns, and Amaze for your Flowerbeds.
If you need any supplies or equipment to prep your grass for the cool season, visit Plants for All Seasons, and we’ll get you all set up with everything you need. Don’t hesitate to ask us for help if you’re unsure which products are best for the type of grass you’ve got in your yard. We still have curbside pickup and home delivery services available, so feel free to give us a call in-store to make arrangements if needed!