Local expert shares tips for lawn care during colder months

HENDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. — Some across the region are already seeing effects of the cooler weather, like the first frost of the season. But how do you keep your lawn looking nice in the winter? UT Ag Extension Agent Brian White says fertilizer is one of the answers.

“Fall is a really good time to add some lime,” White said. “You can do that anytime, but fall typically is a good time. We can still add some fertilizer to our lawns like phosphate and potash, you can add those any time of the year.”

While warm season grasses do make up the majority of West Tennessee, there are a few cool seasons grasses as well. The best time to spot which you have is after frost. Then you can better assess what your lawn needs to survive the cooler months.

“As soon as frost hits, your warm season grasses will go dormant, but our cool season grasses like a feskew, perennial ryegrass, annual ryegrass, of those antures will stay green,” White said.

White says the most important thing to keep a lawn healthy from winterkill or diseases during the cooler months is to make sure it’s healthy before it goes dormant after the first frost.

“They can get some winterkill based on how bad of a winter we have, but to help that plant, the healthier it is going into winter, the better chances it’ll have to make it through the winter without any winter kill,” said White.

To keep your yard looking nice, you can also add a fall pre-emerge to keep out any winter weeds. You can buy the fall pre-emerge at almost any outdoor store, but it may not do anything until rain returns to the area.

“Fall pre-emerge is just a herbicide that stays in the top part of the soil profile to prevent winter weeds — onions, dandelions, all the things we don’t want to see during the winter time,” White said.

Most outdoor plants will go dormant after first frost, but fertilizer will still keep the soil healthy in the cooler conditions.

The UT Agriculture Extension Offices can help test soils to find what fertilizers will work best to help keep lawns healthy. For more questions, you can contact your local office.

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