What to Do for Your Grass in Cold Weather

In Episode 10 of the Houston Grass Podcast, Michael talks about the things you should do now to care for your grass in cold weather in the Houston area. Call 281-431-7441 for answers to your questions.

Summary of Caring for Your Grass in Cold Weather

Good Morning everyone. This is Michael Romine with Houston Grass and this is the Houston Grass Podcast. We are about five days before Christmas here and it’s gotten cold. The first half of the month was was unseasonably warm, and everything we had was real green. And we were selling lots of fungicide to everybody because the brown patch was so bad, and everybody had green plants and green grass.

And now it looks like we’re going to go the other way. We are headed to the deep freeze towards the end of this week. Doesn’t sound like it’s going to be quite as bad, hopefully as the Valentine’s 2021 but it’s going to be cold for a little while.

So everyone be sure and get those pipes wrapped. Get those back-flow preventers for your sprinkler system drained and wrapped and the plants covered up. 

As far as grass goes there’s not a whole lot that you can do. It’s just that the grass in cold weather gets a whole lot easier to take care of.

Newly Planted Grass Will Likely Be Okay IF It’s Watered In Real Well

Just as a side note if. If you’re deciding whether or not to plant grass this right now, I would probably hold off because there’s really no telling when we get into this uncharted territory for being this cold in this part of the world.

We sold a lot of grass right before the the freeze last time, and we didn’t get many reports of people who had problems. As long as you get it in there and get it watered in real well, the grass should be fine. But there were a couple of folks who had problems.

And it all has to do with circumstances, like where the grass was planted and how exposed it was to that North wind and and things like that. If it’s in a wide open area and that North wind is just hitting brand new grass like that, I could see it being a problem. After this freeze though I think that we’ll be back to warmer weather. We’re back in the seventies the next week.

For established grass, this freeze is definitely going to put it into dormancy. The grass ought to be a hundred percent brown.

Your Grass Still Needs Water in Dormancy

You still need that inch of water every two weeks. With the rain pattern we’ve been in, you’re going get that inch of water falling out of the sky. If we do turn real dry, you would still want to continue with a little supplemental irrigation from time to time.

But more than likely, I would say you’re done thinking about the grass in your yard until mid to late February. Then we’ll be talking about fertilization and and things of that nature.

We were reading over Randy Lemmon’s blog that he did a week or so ago, and he brought up a couple of good points here.

During Dormancy You Should Mow Any Weeds

And one of them is that after the grass goes dormant, you’re not going to need to mow anything except the weeds. There’s no need to to treat your grass with any kind of chemical until springtime. If you see weeds pop up in places, the thing to do is mow them.

More than likely the cold temperatures are going to zap most of the weeds that are out there. But if you have unsightly weeds that you just don’t want to look at, don’t treat with any type of herbicide. Just mow them off. More than likely, Mother Nature is going to take care of them. Again, just no herbicides right now.

Be Cautious About Springtime Fertilization with Atrazine

He also brings up that spring will be here before we know it. We recommend the Nitro Phos fertilizers and Randy Lemmon promotes those as well. And we sell them at Houston grass.

But Randy Lemmon recommends trying to get away from the purple bag — Nitro-Phos Weed and Feed with Atrazine in it. Atrazine is a tough chemical. Lots of folks seem to think that it’s going to be outlawed before long anyway.

If you do have need to treat some weeds, treating with the turquoise colored bag, the weed and feed with Trimec in it, is probably the better way to go. It’s safer for your trees and the vegetation around and groundwater and all the things that Atrazine may or may not be so good for. Atrazine is the quick and easy fix for your weeds in the springtime, but maybe checking in some alternatives might not be a bad idea for sure.

Bag Your Clippings When You Start Mowing in the Spring

Also, you’re not going to be mowing right now. But when you start mowing in mid to late February, it’s important to remember to not mulch all that dead grass because all that dead grass just turns to thatch.

So the thing to do is for the first few mowings until you get a consistent green out across there, is to bag all of those clippings and get that dead material out of there. There is no nutritional value to that grass.

Of course you mulch the rest of the year because that decomposing green blade of grass has a lot of nitrogen that it can return to the soil with it, and I’m sure some other things as well. But that hay basically that you’re cutting off, it’s got no nutritional value, so it’s definitely a good idea to get it out of there.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Plugs of Grass

As far as other things that we could touch on here Randy Lemmon also mentioned buying plugs of grass this time of year or any other time of year in the Houston area.

We don’t really like to do plugs of any type of grass. We don’t sell them because homeowners, frankly don’t have enough enough chemicals in their arsenal to place sporadic four or five inch squares of grass out in their yard and spread them out and then keep the weeds out of them.

You’ve need access to someone with the chemical applicator’s license, like these farms and probably golf courses do. But I would say stay away from mail order Zoysia plugs.

I don’t see anybody around our part of the world here on the Gulf Coast selling plugs in stores. But Zoysia is the slowest growing of all the grasses, and because it’s slow-growing, that Zoysia takes a lot longer to cover an area.

So in the meantime, wherever there’s bare dirt, you’re going to be fighting the weeds. And like I said, homeowners don’t have access to the chemicals that it would take to keep the weeds out of your yard in the meantime. When we plant grass at the farm we use different pre-emergents to keep the to keep the weeds out.

One Hundred Percent Coverage Works Best for Homeowners

When you’re planting 15 or 20 acres at a time, which is what they do, plugs are the only way to go. But in a homeowner setting, the only way to plant grass in our opinion, is 100% coverage.

Lay the grass, the 16 by 24 inch pieces like tile tight next to one another. Water it in, and that naturally keeps the weeds out. No chemicals required. So my recommendation is to definitely stay away from the Zoysia plugs because they just take so much longer to cover an area.

Like I said, keep those sprinkler systems drained and stay warm and we’ll be back next month or maybe even month after. Like I said, there’s not going to be a whole lot to talk about here for a little bit once this grass goes dormant. It’s just going to kind of lay there.

I appreciate you listening and we’ll be back soon. Thank you.

We’re Still Selling Grass

As Michael mentioned in the podcast, you can still plant grass even after it’s entered dormancy as long as you water it in and then keep heavy traffic off of it until spring after the roots have tapped down. If you have questions, please give us a call at 281-431-7441.

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