Most of us are delighted that our warm-season species lawns have gone dormant and we are enjoying a reprise from our weekly, or more often, mowing chore. But we shouldn’t forget our lawn completely at this time. There are a few things we can do that will ensure a more aesthetic and healthy lawn this spring.
With the recent rains and cold, wet soil, it is much easier to determine poor drainage areas and to begin filling them with topsoil or to determine some drainage options.
Continue the removal of any leaf litter from your lawn.
Control winter weeds now before they reach maturity. They will be much easier to control, with less danger of any injury, while the turf is dormant.
Someone asked for my opinion on fertilizing warm-season lawns now. My response is simply don’t do it! The one exception is if you have overseeded the lawn with a cool season species, such as perennial ryegrass, and the cool season grass needs a boost.
Warm-season turf species are now dormant. The only plants in the lawn benefiting from fertilization at this time will be the winter weeds present and we do not want to encourage rampant growth and seed production of these. Warm-season turf species will not benefit from fertilization until they are actively growing.
Applying lime to raise the soil pH (acidity) is a different matter, however. If you have taken a soil sample and found that lime is recommended, then by all means get it out any time during the year. Lime will improve the soil acidity and make nutrients more available when needed as it generally takes months for lime to react and dramatically change the soil pH.
Published January 23, 2006
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. email@example.com