Dreamin Of Green

No, you weren’t seeing things a few weeks ago. The unseasonably warm weather had many Bermuda grass lawns trying to revert back to early spring form — green-up.
In many areas of the state, people were even having to mow their usually dormant front lawns.
But the recent winter storm, which deposited a blanket of snow on many area lawns, has likely ensured the dormancy of most warm season lawns.
“‘Hopefully, this snow has put (the warm season grasses) to sleep until about April,” said Charlie King, owner of King Green Lawn Care, a lawn services company with offices in Watkinsville and Gainesville.
Typically, once the temperature drops in the fall, warm season grasses such as Bermuda, centipede, Zoysia and St. Augustine begin their cycle of dormancy, which usually lasts until early spring.
This year’s unseasonably warm temperatures threw things into disarray, however briefly.
Athens-Clarke County extension agent Frank Henning advises homeowners against making the mistake of fertilizing the warm season grass.
‘”Just let it go dormant,” he said.
King of King Green said his company is currently applying limestone to many area warm season lawns. The chemical, he said, helps the grass absorb fertilizer more effectively once “green-up” occurs.
By contrast, King said his company is actually applying a high nitrogen content fertilizer to the Fescue, a cool season grass that stays green year-round.
Most grass, even cool season Fescue, grows very little during the coldest months, but “by taking care of the root system, you’re really protecting yourself for next year,” said King. “The deeper your roots go, the more drought-tolerant your grass will be.”
According to King, the recent unseasonably warm weather was actually quite beneficial to fescue lawns. He said the warm temperatures were perfect for the grass, “and people who watered their lawns have really good-looking fescue right now.”
Whether homeowners have warm season or cool season grasses, or both, they can still get things done during this time of year.
Henning recommends homeowners use this time to have soil samples completed and leaves raked from their lawns, so as to keep the grass from being smothered and to prevent the onset of harmful fungal diseases.
January, he said, is also a good time to get organized for spring.
“It’s a real good time to do some general maintenance,” said Henning of having tools oiled and lawn mower blades sharpened in preparation for spring.
By: Ronell Smith
Dreamin’ of Green
Winter ‘a real good time’ for lawn care and general maintenance
Athens Banner Herald

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