Lawns in winter

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Overseeding a Lawn

Maybe you, like many home gardeners do not like to look at a brown lawn all winter? Overseeding a warm season lawn with a cool season grass in late summer or early fall will provide a green lawn during winter and spring. Overseeding is most effective with bermudagrass lawns. Overseed about one month before the warm season lawn normally turns brown (early October to mid-November).

Mow the existing grass short. Do not scalp the lawn. Use a vertical mower (available at rental stores) to prepare the lawn for overseeding. Vertical mowing should slice the surface of the soil 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep to allow the seed to reach the soil. Give frequent light waterings to keep the seed moist until it germinates. After the new plants emerge and begin to grow, reduce the watering schedule until it is back to normal.

Start mowing when the grass is about 2 to 3 inches tall. Maintain the grass at a cutting height of about 2 inches. Apply a 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer such as 15-5-10 before overseeding and again six weeks later if needed. Cool weather should slow growth enough to alleviate the need for frequent mowing.

The overseeding grass should die next spring with the onset of warm weather. Cool, wet spring weather may cause the overseeded grass to persist while the warm season grass begins to green up.

Other than that, there is little to do with the lawn in winter except keep the leaves raked and try to avoid walking on it when the grass is frozen - though I must say, that is exactly when my children like to walk on it and leave footprints in the frost!

It doesnít do it any permanent harm but you can still see where they walked weeks later. After all, the point of a nice lawn is for everybody to enjoy it so I donít get too worked up about it.

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