The job isn’t done after a landscaper installs your grass. In fact, you’ll need to give it quite a lot of love and care before winter rolls around. Every homeowners to-do list should take weeding, mowing, and watering into consideration. It should also take snow, frosty days and nutrition dearly, too. To grow, maintain, and ensure the livelihood of your yard, take advantage of these winter grass care tips.
Types of Winter Grass
If you’re expecting cold temperatures, slick sidewalks, and plenty of snow, you’re in luck. Certain types of grass can withstand long winters, and they’re certainly suitable for warm-season months, too. If you don’t want to see your home’s turn transform into a green swamp, you can retain its bright-green sheen throughout the winter months. You will, however, need to install certain types of grass to kick off your winter grass care.
“Winter grass” is a type of ryegrass used to seed over warm-season landscapes. Winter grass exists as both annual ryegrass and perennial ryegrass. Both adapt to sun-and-shade conditions nicely, and both are popular winter choices for homeowners combating seasonal winter wear-and-tear.
Annual ryegrass, sometimes called Italian ryegrass, is incredibly cheap. It also dies in late spring—after a late autumn planting. It’s coarse, light green, and durable. In many cases, it’s preferred to its perennial cousin due to its easygoing texture and ability to be replanted. Annual ryegrass is a popular winter grass care choice for its neutral tone, too, which complements most softscape options.
Perennial ryegrass, on the other hand, may be better for year-round planting. It can survive for many months, but it can also crowd existing turf-grass. Often used in more permanent landscaping schemes, perennial ryegrass is still good for yards experiencing hot summers and cold winters. Phoenix, in particular, is an Arizona location packed with perennial ryegrass due to its big temperature shifts. The grass type has a fine texture and is a dark green. It’s also widely used as athletic field grass.
Winter Grass Care
To protect your lawn during the winter, you’ll need to make sure it’s fertilized well. A warm-season lawn requires winter lawn care—which is good. You’ll be able to over-seed with either annual or perennial ryegrass to upkeep a lush, green winter lawn. Regular fertilizing is needed, however, and you’ll need to prioritize in-season weeds to make sure your fertilizer stays put. Make sure to spot-treat any broadleaf weeds using herbicide, too, as weeds can steal winter grass fertilizer nutrients when left unchecked.
You’ll need to mow frequently during the winter, too, as the above-mentioned weeds can become a long-term problem in winter landscapes. Mow at the lawn’s recommended height, as the season’s common weeds can’t survive repeat mows. Use your mower’s big attachments, too, to catch any set weeds.
September, specifically, should be a heavy mowing month. Apply pre-emergent herbicide, and eliminate winter weeds with weekly mowing. If done correctly, heavy mowing in September will prep your lawn for a long, healthy winter growth session.
While winter grasses are resilient to frozen water, you should still avoid watering your lawn on frigid days. If you need to, prioritize mid mornings to water your lawn. In Arizona, warm afternoons are ideal for water absorption. If it’s snowing, skip the watering. Snow, hail and ice—once melted—will provide enough water for your grass.
Over time, you’ll need to detach summer grass to make room for winter grass. While your winter grass will last a long time, summer grass, when left to grow, can create structural problems for a growing winter grass expanse. You don’t want your newly grown grass to be easily uprooted, do you? When your winter rye grass dies, you’ll need to stop watering it for a couple of weeks. Then, water it again to awaken deeper, leftover summer grass. You’d be surprised by the system’s effectiveness.