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How to Care for Your Virginia Lawn This Winter

two pairs of shoes on frost covered grass

Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, fine and tall fescues, and perennial ryegrass, look their best in cooler temperatures with plenty of moisture. Warm-season grasses, such as Bermudagrass, Zoysia grass and St. Augustine grass, thrive in warmer, drier climates. While your grass may be dormant during the winter, lawn care shouldn’t end when the temperatures drop.

Avoid Excessive Foot Traffic

Both cool season and warm season grasses can tolerate moderate amounts of foot traffic during the winter. But, heavily worn paths can cause stress to the grass plants, making them slow to green up once the weather gets warmer.

Limit the Use of De-Icers

Long-time residents of the Chesapeake area know that January can be cold and sometimes snowy. If you use any de-icing salt, make sure you use it very carefully. The build-up in and around the soil can damage grass and other plants. If you must use a de-icing agent, opt for one containing calcium chloride-based mixtures versus the more harmful sodium chloride-based ones.

Spread Cool-Weather Grass Seed

Living in a transition zone means we have both cool-season and warm-season grasses. Knowing what type of grass your lawn is made up of can help with the seeding process. If you have a cool-season grass, now is the time to seed. Sprinkle the seed over the lawn, making sure it’s spread evenly to avoid clumps of grass later.  

Remove Debris and Dead Grass

After fall, your lawn may have leaves and other debris that can cause your grass plants to suffocate during the winter. The debris can invite diseases and unwanted pests to your lawn.  Quickly dragging a rake over your lawn can help break up soil clumps, remove built-up thatch, and better cover any seeds you’ve spread.

Apply Post-Emergent Herbicides and Spot Treat

While winter may feel like a break from yard work, there are important things that should be done to prepare your lawn for the warmer months; weed control is one of those things. Crabgrass spreads quickly during the warmer months and produces thousands of seeds per plant. When the first frost rolls around, the plants are killed but the seeds remain dormant. Applying a pre-emergent herbicide during the late winter can help prevent any crabgrass seeds from developing as the weather warms up.

A beautiful lawn doesn’t appear overnight; it takes attention, repetition and great timing. Choosing lawn experts like Agronomic Lawn Management to create a customized lawn treatment plan can really help you achieve the healthy, lush lawn you’ve been dreaming of.

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