Winter lawn care in warm climates

In warmer climates, where snow isn’t an ever-present threat as it is elsewhere in the country, winter lawn and garden survival follows a different set of rules. In these areas, lawns require some additional upkeep and winterizing isn’t a “set it and forget it” situation. Follow the tips below to make sure your winter lawn is primed and ready for the real work in Spring.

  1. Plants: February is a great time to take stock of your current lawn and garden set-up. Figure out which shrubs and plants you’d like to keep for the next year and which you’d like to replace or add.
  2. Lawn care: Grass will go dormant in winter months, even in warmer areas. Some or all of your grass will turn brown, which is normal. Don’t fertilize your lawn over the winter – once spring arrives grass will most likely become active and green again. Bonus: the brown blades of grass make weeds much easier to spot. Hand-pull these weeds or apply herbicide to the specific spots. Make sure your herbicide is safe for use on your grass type – otherwise you may end up killing more than your weeds.
  3. Prune: Pruning deciduous plants during the winter months while they are dormant will encourage new growth in the spring. Branch structure is much easier to see on dormant trees, making it the perfect time to prune. According to Home Depot, a good way to start winter pruning is to remember the 3D rule: is it dead, damaged or diseased? Branches that fall under any of these classifications should be removed before any other pruning takes place as that will easily change the shape of a tree or shrub. And, leaving such branches in place increases potential for further damage or insect infestation.
  4. Don’t irrigate: Greatly reduce how much you water. Again, even in warm climates trees, shrubs and other landscape plants are dormant and need little water. It may actually cause more harm than good as your lawn may become oversaturated. A good rule of thumb: poke a finger into the ground up to the second joint. If it’s all dry, water. Soak the roots but then leave it for the next two to three weeks.
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