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Watching for Winter Weeds

by Joe Cooper, All About Lawns Columnist

Think weeds only plague your lawn during the summer? Think again. With colder temperatures and higher moisture levels, winter can be an ideal time for certain weeds to sprout in your front or back yard.

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Three Winter Weeds and What They Mean

If your lawn has weeds, that means that its conditions are better for the weeds than for the grass. Some weeds mean additional specific things about your lawn. Take a look at this short list, which includes three common winter weeds and what they could mean about your lawn:

  • Hop Clover: This weed can mean your soil is dry and low in nitrogen.
  • Bluegrass: This weed, which forms in clumps, can mean your lawn has too much moisture and nitrogen.
  • Moss: Moss loves moisture, as you know, and often grows in cool, shady areas. This can mean your lawn has poor drainage, and your soil could be too compacted.

Addressing any weed challenges you have before winter doesn't have to be an all-day project; consider your lawn like your carpet. If you have a stain in one place, you don't necessarily need to shampoo the whole thing. You can "spot-clean" your lawn in the same way, targeting specific problem areas with the right kind of weed killer.

Most gardening experts recommend herbicides for common winter weeds like the ones above. Check with your local landscaper or gardening pro to choose the best solution for your winter weeds.

Testing What Lies Beneath

Monitoring the health of your soil before we enter the winter months can help you get the greenest lawn come springtime, too. Bringing a sample of your lawn's soil to your local hardware store or nursery that does soil testing can make you more educated on your lawn's needs. This test can help you identify the best kind of fertilizer or seed to use before the cold settles in.

If it Ain't Broke…

Don't forget the best pre-winter tip for healthy lawns--do nothing! Remember that winter weeds can grow from putting too much effort into your lawns. These are some common mistakes homeowners make with their lawns before the winter months:

  • Over-watering
  • Over-fertilizing
  • Over-mowing

Leaving your healthy lawn be can be the best thing for it before winter.

About the Author
Joe Cooper writes education, home services, and design articles, and manages corporate communications. He holds a bachelor's in American Literature from UCLA.

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