Smith County Extension Agent
Many homeowners work hard to maintain and manage their lawns to add aesthetic value to their property. A well-kept lawn adds to the satisfaction of their property. Lawn maintenance, for some, can be a year-round project. There are several things the homeowner can do to prepare their lawns for winter.
Second, apply your last fertilizer applications for the year at least 30 days prior to the first frost date in your area. Fertilizer applications need only be applied to grasses that are actively growing. Homeowners should soil test and fertilize according to the soil test recommendations. A spring fertilizer application should also be made at least 30 days after the last frost date in your area to help these warm season grasses.
Some people over-seed each year with a cool season grass variety to keep a green, pretty lawn year-round. If you over-seed with a cool-season grass then you will need to fertilize this winter. A late fall and winter application will be required. During the fall and winter, an application of 75 percent of the total nitrogen requirements for the grass species should be sufficient.
Third, be sure to keep an eye out for diseases and other pest problems. Apply irrigation on an as-needed basis. Even though many warm-season grasses have gone dormant, these grasses are still alive and will require water to survive. Adequate amounts of rainfall should be sufficient. If we have a dry winter, irrigation even during winter months can help keep lawns alive. Too much or too little water can cause problems such as turf-grass diseases.
There are two main diseases that cause many problems for most home lawns. These diseases are Brown Patch and Take-All Root Rot. Brown Patch is a fungus that attacks many lawns, especially St. Augustine, Centipede and Zoysia grasses. This fungus is usually seen when night-time temperatures fall below 70 degrees, and excess water or rainfall is prevalent.
Winterizing the home lawn can help prepare the roots and grass species to over winter and to assist in transition come spring time. Follow the soil test recommendations when applying fertilizer to your soil.
On another note, for anyone needing a Private Applicator License to purchase and spray state-limited use or restricted-use products on their farm or ranch, a training and testing is
scheduled for Oct. 16.
The course will take place at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service meeting room, 1517 W. Front St. in the Cotton Belt Building, beginning at 8 a.m.
Study materials are available for purchase in advance of the training for $40, which includes the two manuals plus a list of study questions. An additional $10 training fee will be charged the day of the training.
The Texas Department of Agriculture inspector will be on hand at the conclusion of the training to administer the exam. You may use a calculator on the exam. Be sure to bring current color photo identification to the exam. Attendance at the training for Private Applicators is required in order to take the exam. For more details or to sign up for this course, call 903-590-2980.
Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.