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Winter Care for Warm-Season Lawn

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

While most of the lawns in northern climate states settle down for a winter's sleep, warm-season grasses continue to provide lush, green lawns for our Southern friends. That means, if you live in states that remain temperate from December to spring, your Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass lawns require ongoing maintenance while the rest of the nation shovels snow.

If you reside along the warm-season grass belt that runs westward from South Carolina to San Diego, and grow lawns of buffalo grass, bahia grass, centipede grass, or a variety of zoysia, you may encounter weeds, browning, spotting, and molds -- even in the winter.

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Over-Seed Southern Lawns

If temperatures have a history of dropping under 50 degrees F for prolonged periods of winter and your lawn has been grown from zoysia, St. Augustine, and Bermuda seed or turf, you may want to over-seed in the late fall. Fescue and ryegrass are common over-seed choices for those who want their lawn to grow thick and green throughout the colder months.

Remember to mow the lawn regularly and keep up the water -- both on lengthier intervals than in summer months. Water is critical if you over-seed your lawn, but don't go overboard. Many homeowners like to apply broadleaf herbicides over winter months to keep down harmful clover and chickweed.

Check with your home and garden or lawn-care center to see if a nitrogen fertilizer is appropriate for your grass type and region in the cool months. If you leave your clippings on the winter lawn, you're helping restore nutrients to the soil and roots, too. But avoid allowing leaves to mold and decay on your lawn, especially if you have fescue grass.

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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