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Winter lawn care for a beautiful lawn

snowman.jpgIt's winter but you love your lawn so what can you do ?
Just because it is winter and your Bermuda or Zoysia is dormant does not mean it is dead... It's asleep, in the sense that it is not actively producing food through photosynthesis with the green leaves you love to admire most of the year. 
So, let's do some winter lawn care for our turf now....

First, get a soil test.

This is accomplished by getting a representative sample of soil from around your yard and taking it to the county extension agent to have tested by the state soils lab.  This will give you lots of really cool numbers you can use. One of these important numbers is soil Ph. The Ph number lets you know how acidic or sweet your soil is.
In our area, we normally have acidic soils - which means adding lime (according to soil test results). We recommend a dolomite lime and it can be applied at any time of the year, like in winter. 
Next, look at your phosphorous and potassium levels and how many pounds of product (if any) are recommended for your lawn. Again, winter is a good time to add these additional supplements that support stem and root health in the proper amounts.

Don't mow.

Through the winter, leave your grass tall , don't scalp it.  Scalping for winter can help expose roots to cold weather damage and die-back resulting in brown patches that will not green up in the spring.

Don't forget to water your lawn if need be.

The root zone needs to be kept moist (not wet or muddy) to prevent desiccation due to dry soil. This is normally not a problem here as we tend to recieve enough precipitation; however, if we go through a dry spell, it is a good idea to water your lawn to maintain good soil moisture. If you dig down with your finger, the soil should appear moist. If the soil appears dry or powdery, then it's a good idea to add water.   
If an exceptionally hard freeze is expected, a good watering beforehand can actually help insulate the roots from the damaging cold temperatures.

Spring Preparation

At the first sign of spring, drop your mower to 3/4" to 1" and mow off the turf's winter, dormant coat to allow the new growth to flourish. Follow this with a good balanced fertilizer every 6 to 8 weeks through the growing season for a healthy green lawn.

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