How to protect your lawn from winter stress or winter kill

As we reflect on the winter of 2013-2014, we learned so much about how these cold temperatures can devastate our warm season grasses. Cooler weather is already quickly approaching and we have already seen heavy frost across much of West Tennessee. So as your Bermuda grass or Zoysia grass begins to go dormant, there are a few major things to consider before putting your lawn to sleep for the winter. So here are some tips to get your lawn as prepared as possible for the winter to come. In dry conditions, continue to water your lawn to help provide extra insulation and the drink it needs. Watering your lawn a couple times a week can help in your lawns’ overall health and vigor. The root system of your turf grass is still very much alive and active and still continues to need food and water to survive. Another critical component to keep your lawn as safe as possible going into the winter conditions is your current mowing height. Most of us are about to park the lawn mower for the season or have another cutting scheduled to help clean up the lawn from debris, such as leaves. So when preparing to cut your lawn for the last time, raise your mower blade and NEVER take more than 1/3 of the grass blade off of your lawn. The higher you mow will provide extra protection for your lawn and help keep it safer from the cold winter ahead. If there was damage to your lawn from last winter, consider keeping your mowing height at a high level, water your lawn as needed, implement a good weed control and fertilizer strategy, and consider using some type of tarp or cover on areas that were heavily affected by last year’s winter. These are vital elements to continue to keep your lawn weed free and beautiful all season. So, the extra time and effort you can spend on your lawn now, can pay big dividends as next spring approaches.

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