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Winter Lawn Care in the Southeastern States

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Now that it's winter in the South, it's a great time to consider preventative maintenance on your lawn. Warm-weather tolerant lawns of Zoysia, Bermuda, Centipede, Kikuyu, and St. Augustine grasses can be vulnerable to heavy weed infestations if they don't get enough water in the cold months. Depending on your experience with your grass type, it may be the perfect time to lay down a pre-emptive strike on spring weeds.

If you live in Jacksonville, Miami, Atlanta, Memphis, San Antonio, El Paso, Charlotte, or Houston, take heed: crabgrass may already be germinating beneath the surface of your winter lawn. If weeds get a foothold now in warm-weather grasses, they can suck up all the moisture you've put down on the lawn. The result: your turfgrass goes brown -- permanently -- and in the spring you have a heady lawn of weeds.
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Treating Winter Lawns with Weed Control Products

Pre-emergent herbicides like Roundup are popular, but may not always be the prudent choice. The active ingredient in the herbicide, glyphosate, is relatively safe for treating Bermudagrass, but it can be a dagger to the heart of other warm-season turfgrasses.

If you do plan on using a glyphosate herbicide, it's best to apply it to your lawn as early as February before green shoots appear on your grass. If you already have fresh patches of lawn, you ought to consider another alternatives like 2,4-D and MCPP -- common post-emergence herbicides.

Be sure the lawn has sufficient moisture through the first months of the year, especially if you're using an herbicide. Apply herbicides on a moist lawn and, after giving it a few days to work, water the lawn routinely through spring.

Use common sense. If your lawn looks brown, wilted, or otherwise troubled by winter kill conditions, step up your watering and put off herbicide use until post emergence in the spring.

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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